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How To Negotiate Your First Job Salary

In today’s job market, first-time job seekers such as college graduates are finding it difficult to land a job never mind a well-paying job. However, the market is seeing an upswing – national unemployment is dropping, and companies are starting to take on new hires again. In this time, it’s important for job-seekers, especially first-time job seekers, to properly negotiate their salaries. Being prepared to negotiate may be the difference between settling for a job position and living comfortably with your salary.

Be prepared to negotiate

While you may feel that haggling will diminish your chances of getting the job, the reality is that many employers expect you to negotiate. One trick is to realize that this is all business: if you act hesitant or apologetic for negotiating, your employer will not take you seriously and will have an easy time maintaining the salary quote. Also, negotiate with sounds reasons as to why you deserve the higher salary. Mention what kinds of unique skills and experiences you can bring to the table.

Know what a realistic salary is

Do a good deal of research beforehand. Search online estimators, like, to see what sort of paycheck you can expect. Be sure to take advantage of search by zip code function on to adjust the average salary for your area.

Start high

This is simple and intuitive: if you ask for a low salary, that’s exactly what you’ll get. When negotiating, be sure to start on the higher end of the estimate or average. Of course, be reasonable with your starting salary request. Once you have an idea of what you expect to be paid, you can be confident with your number.

Don’t be afraid to say no or stick to your guns

Often times, first-time job seekers are quick to back down because they’re afraid that sticking to their higher salary request will result in not getting the job. This is not always true. Generally, fair employers have respect for interviewees who negotiate reasonably and do not sway from what they believe to be fair.

Cash is king.

Sure, extra benefits like extra vacation days or benefits seem nice, but when negotiating for a salary, remember to place emphasis on the actual salary amount. Don’t settle for non-cash perks unless the salary you’re seeking is absolutely non-negotiable.

Negotiating your first salary may be intimidating, but doing some research and going into a job interview prepared to negotiate can get you the job and the salary you’re looking for.