How Much Are You Worth?: Negotiating Salary

By Marcie Waters

In a recent article, The Atlantic reported that 62 percent of recent college graduates did not negotiate for a higher salary, although 84 percent of employers said they had room to increase their original salary offer. Why do so few recent grads attempt to negotiate for a higher salary? Are we worried we may offend the employer by asking for more? Or jeopardize our chances of getting the job? Or are we so used to unpaid internships that any salary sounds acceptable? Likely the biggest reason is that negotiating can be tough, and many recent grads don’t know how to go about it. Negotiating your salary or other benefits is an important part of landing the right job. The graph below shows how negotiating for a $5,000 salary increase could result in a salary that is over $8,000 higher after working for five years. The Atlantic also stated that employers overall were not offended by a salary negotiation; many even expected it or interpreted it as a marker of the applicant’s confidence.


How negotiating a higher salary pays off via The Atlantic.

So, how do you go about negotiating for a higher salary? When you are offered the job, first thank the employer, then ask for time to consider the offer (usually between 3 days and a week is acceptable). Also ask them if you can continue to call them if you think of any questions. Make sure to get as many details on the entire package as possible, like salary, days off, benefits, etc. Think about the offer, and if you decide to negotiate, use this flow chart as a guide. Remember to be polite and reasonable; an employer will likely not react well if you are being too aggressive or if they feel they’re being attacked.


Negotiating a Job Offer flow chart created by Marcie Waters and adapted from LSCS handouts.

With these tips, hopefully your salary negotiation will be successful. For more help on evaluating a job offer, check out the resources on our website.


Taking the Narrow Way for Your Job Search


By Michelle Schmid

As summer lurks behind the corner that is finals week, the pressure to find that job or internship for the upcoming months of sunny fun takes the stage. If you’re like me, you’re probably sifting through website after website looking for just the right job description, or at least the one job that is going to pay you more than minimum wage while still help you gain the skills you need for a successful future. You know it’s out there, hiding in the thicket of job postings. In my own job search, I’ve applied a few tactics that make my panicked google search extravaganza less of a fiasco and more effective:

Look at a Specific Field of Work. It can be easy to settle looking at any and every job as long as it is pays. You might know that you don’t want to work at the local McDonalds, which is ok, but a lot of times employers are looking for an employee who is enthusiastic about what he or she is doing. Therefore, if you are interested in working with children as your future career, look for an internship that involves working for a family. Or if you can’t find a job that is linked directly to your topmost interest, look through the job description to find points that interest you. For example, if you are looking for a job in health services, but you only are able to find a receptionist position, then link that work as a receptionist back to your passion for health careers. For example, you could spend the summer working at the front desk of a local clinic, or doing data entry for a healthcare organization. By eliminating a large variety of opportunities from your initial search, you will be able to search through job postings faster and will instead have more time to spend on crafting a quality resume.

Decide Where You Want to be. Another way you can cut through the listings is by looking at location. While it is good to be flexible when looking for opportunities, you may find that by limiting the jobs you apply for to positions located in the Midwest you will have fewer descriptions to read and tailor your resume for. This might sound negative: why would I want fewer opportunities? However, if you have five jobs you are really passionate about all in the area you want to be versus twenty jobs you are mostly indifferent about all over the country; it will be easier to find the right position for you. And if you are like me, you definitely have at least a small idea of where you want to be for the summer, whether that is in New York, Chicago, Madison, or home sweet home.

Set a Schedule for When You are Going to Apply. One of the most common mistakes of the job hunt is to only apply for one job. I do it all the time. As a result, this past week I have implemented a new plan: setting an application schedule. In other words, it is good to set aside time once a week for when you are going to apply for jobs and internships. Because it takes time to go out there and find the one that interests you, setting a goal for your job search timeline will help you to apply for more than one dream job all your hopes hang on. When you apply yourself to multiple jobs or internships in the same work field and location, you will find that pressure of getting the perfect summer job will decrease. Therefore, go out there and start looking! Once you find jobs you want to pursue, you can visit us at Letters and Science Career Services to get help with snagging that interview!

Remember that personal one-on-one networking is a great way to expand your network and learn about opportunities before they are even posted. Connect with family and friends and be sure to share your resume or linkedin profile (if you don’t have a linkedin account created, LS Career Services highly recommends it.)