Salary Negotiation Tactics for College Students

a young employee delivers speech to his bosses

Your education was a valuable investment. You need to walk the walk in order to leverage it and get the salary you deserve. If you have never had a career before, it can be intimidating to negotiate your pay with potential employers. Do your homework, then go for the gold with these negotiation tactics that are sure to help you establish a pay rate you are comfortable with.

Research Salaries Within the Company

If it is at all possible to find out how much other people within the organization are making, do so. Find out as much as you can about any positions similar to yours and the experience, if you can, of the workers doing the job. Sometimes this part can be tricky since financial information can be considered a personal confidential matter. Sometimes you can find tax information about the organization and nothing more. If this is the case, just use it as food for thought as you find out more about what you’re worth. You can potentially compare this to other similar companies and make educated guesses about what’s reasonable.

Look Up Salary Averages in Your Local and Regional Area

Within your job description, you should be able to find salary averages, both in your city and in your region. This is where comparing company profits might come in handy. For example, if you are applying for a position at a company that is on the lower end of the profit scale, you shouldn’t ask for the same salary as the highest average in your area. In that case, you should ask for less.

Make Sure You’ve Come Across as an Exceptional Candidate

If you’re at this point in the game, you already know this company likes you, but have you completely wowed them? Do something that will set the stage for your negotiation, making you stand out from all other candidates, and show your employer that they do not want you slipping through their fingers. This is the key to leverage – showing up as your best self and making sure that has been recognized. You don’t achieve this by being arrogant, but you don’t get it by being mousy either. Try to find a problem the organization is facing, knows they are facing, and solve it for them. Service is the best way to add value to any situation.

Expand the Proposal Beyond Monetary Compensation

Do not forget to consider benefits such as a healthcare package, vacation time, window office, new phone, work from home days, expense accounts for travel, etc. You can’t be too creative with this, but do stay reasonable. For whatever you are asking, you should include reasons, in your proposal, why the items would help you do your job.

Use Facts in Your Negotiation

Once you have all the facts, write them down in a way that is clear, conceptual, and never demanding. Employers will want to see exactly how you came up with your proposed rate, especially since you have no prior experience. Answer any questions they might have before they ask, especially why you might want the amount you’re asking for. Then, continue revising your proposal as many times as you need to feel great about it.

Once you’ve got the right proposal, the one you feel good about (Don’t spend weeks on this, since you want it done in time to start working asap.), present it to the company in a way that you think they will feel good about. Send it to the appropriate person for review in a format that is appropriate for the company’s size and how busy the hiring staff seems. The best case scenario is to ask how they would prefer you present your proposal, whether this be in person or via email, etc.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t let the idea of negotiation intimidate you to the point of missing out on what you deserve. By doing thorough research and planning, you should find the confidence to find the salary you want and need without much stress.

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