7 Job Negotiation Strategies for Students

You've studied too hard for too long to settle for an underpaid salary!

Elizabeth Hoyt

December 17, 2014

7 Job Negotiation Strategies for Students 7 Job Negotiation Strategies for Students

As a student entering the work force, it’s important to keep negotiation tactics in mind when considering your job offers. After all, business is business. And, while it’s certainly understandable to be over the moon because you’ve received a job offer, it’s important to keep those emotions on the inside.

Often times, graduates jump on the first offer they receive after graduation without any sort of negotiation. This mistake leads to individuals being underpaid and not just for their starting salary – for their entire future.

According to a research study released in 2010, researchers found that when you don’t negotiate your starting salary, you could lose significant monetary amounts over the course of your career. For example, neglecting to negotiate just $5,000 more could mean the loss of more than $600,000 over the course of a career!

You’ve studied too hard for too long to let that happen!

Here are some strategies to help ensure you’re prepared to properly handle your job search negotiations, as shared by GradHacker:

1. If possible, postpone salary negotiations until you actually get the job.
It’s awkward to negotiate a salary for a job you’re not even sure you have. Try to ensure you only enter salary negotiations when you’re absolutely certain you’re the employer’s desired candidate.

If there’s no way around it and you’re pressured to give a number earlier than you’d like, perhaps because you’re still on campus, avoid citing hard numbers.

It’s more than acceptable to say something slightly vague such as, “If hired for the position, I would expect compensation comparable to others with the same job description.” You can discuss the specifics once you actually have the job offer.

2. Don’t take the first offer you’re given.
Yes – it’s tempting to cave. Just know that employers are trying to get you on the cheap and you, my friend, are not cheap. You’re an asset and you’re worth every penny! Most employers expect a little negotiation so don’t worry about losing the offer. However, if you are hesitant or concerned about offending a potential employer, you are always safe asking for 10 percent more.

3. Negotiate more than salary.
When thinking of job negotiation strategies, numbers usually come to mind. However, other job benefits are important, too. Do not forget to ask about and negotiate other items!

Before going into your negotiation, ask around (discreetly) or research to find out about other benefits employees are typically offered within the company, such as the number of vacation days, stock options, health insurance policies, moving expenses, signing bonuses, a company car, etc.

4. Avoid giving the first number.
Nobody likes to be put on the spot, especially in stressful situations. It’s always best to let your potential employer give out the first number. You’ll either be pleasantly surprised with how high it is (you should still negotiate!) or receive a low offer and you can counter offer (which you have already prepared).

If the potential employer insists that you give a number first, you can direct the focus back to your potential employer through a couple of different methods to ensure they state a hard number first and, from there, you can decide what type of counter offer to make. You can cite the position’s typical pay range and the various job duties, following-up by asking the potential employer what he or she thinks would be a fair salary based on that given information.

Alternatively, you could say something like, “Given your experience within the company, I think you’re much more qualified to determine the value of this role.” This statement is both flattering to the potential employer and places the ball back in his or her court, so to speak.

5. Arrive prepared with relevant information.
Before you enter negotiations, research what the typical pay range is for that particular job title, both within that company and other companies. That way, you will know whether you are being offer fair compensation and what you should be negotiating.

6. Always have counter offers in mind before negotiations begin.
It’s good to go into your negotiations with (realistic) goals in mind. It’s also important to have an absolute bottom line – if the offer is any lower, you’ll walk away. Make sure when negotiating, you ask for slightly more than you want to settle on so that there’s room for you to compromise with the employer.

For example, if you are looking to receive 10 percent more, ask for 20 percent initially so that you and your potential employer can compromise. The employer can counter with 10 percent, giving you what you really wanted in the first place.

7. Never bring personal issues into it.
After years of college and, perhaps, graduate school, you likely have loads of student debt but it is vital to never cite this as a reason to justify you receiving higher pay.

In fact, the reasons for a higher salary should never even borderline on the personal. The only justifiable reasons for your higher salary center around what you bring to the workplace, how you are skilled and capable to tackle the job position.

Utilize this rule: anything to do with you needing a higher salary should not be mentioned; anything to do with you qualifying for a higher salary should.

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