Ploymint Guide: Negotiating Salaries of Job Offers for Recent Grads

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Especially when you’re new to the job market, landing a position can feel like a breakthrough moment. We’ve all seen countless job ads for entry-level positions that require years of experience, and the market can be a tough landscape for recent grads for this reason.

Here at Ploymint we’ve written plenty about job hunting in general and have shared specific advice on how to land a good first job, but what about that pesky post-offer consideration when you need to negotiate your salary? Particularly for recent college graduates, a job offer can feel like a lotto ticket, but in the case of some positions, the payout might not even be worth cashing in until you’ve negotiated properly.

While job offers and salary negotiations are each specific cases, there are some bits of cautionary advice that persist throughout.

Perhaps the most important universal advice for negotiating the salary for a new job is to not rush into anything. While it might feel like you’ve got the upper-hand in the negotiation process by virtue of the job offer, you don’t want to end up accepting the first number that a hiring manager throws out. Once you’ve gotten an offer, a little salary negotiation shouldn’t hurt your chances, so don’t be shy about taking your time and throwing out a counter offer.

Of course, negotiating your salary can be an awkward exchange, and despite the discomfort, you don’t want to put yourself in a position of inhibiting your own salary. If, for example, a hiring manager asks outright what you want to be paid you can propose a vague but stand-your-ground response that reminds her of your potential value to the company.

Salary benefits are maybe the most overlooked part of this negotiation process. While your baseline salary is the most obvious point of contention, recent grads especially can forget about the potentially high value of yearly bonuses, access to 401(k) match programs, vacation time, and even stock option packages. It might be tempting to just say “Yes” to everything after the job is in your sights, but a little patient persistence as a negotiator can go a long way.

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Jay is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer and music journalist.

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