You CAN negotiate your salary, even if it's your first job. Here are our tips for getting your boss to fork over a few extra bucks.
Take a break from Instagram for a second and do a Google search on the average salaries of people starting their careers in your field ( by the way, you now have a career). If you know people working in similar positions, and don't feel awkward doing this, ask them how much they make. Clearly, not the most pleasant conversation, but you may gain some key information that could avoid you making $3,000 less than your better-informed officemate.
Don't worry if your resume is short on work experience; put the emphasis on all your other pertinent accomplishments. You won awards at school? That proves you’re a winner. You lived abroad for a year? That shows you are adventuresome and open-minded. You've been volunteering at an old-age home for the last 10 years? Really? Include it. All of these types of experience can paint a brighter picture of you and increase your value when it comes time to negotiate. By the way, always have someone proofread your resume and cover letter — an error-free application will often pay dividends.
Be prepared for the classic question: ''What are your salary expectations?'' and always respond with a higher figure than you’re really aiming for. Maybe not $25,000 over, but definitely ask for a couple thousand more. Don't forget to inquire about other important details like benefit plans. Who knows, maybe the employer offers free breakfasts every morning. The value of a morning smoothie should never be underestimated.
You finally receive one or more job offers (congratulations!), and now it's time to negotiate. Be bold, but remember: don't be pretentious, it’s just your first job. During the negotiation, don't limit yourself strictly to salary, as employers are often more flexible with vacation time or RRSPs. The worst thing that can happen is that they say no.
Even if the offer seems tempting, ask for some time to think about it. This looks more professional and, who knows, you may even receive a proposition from your dream job in the meantime. When analyzing an offer, be sure to consider all the contributing factors, not just the salary figure. Aspects such as the proximity of the office to your home, the workplace environment, the possibility of getting promotions, and the flexibility of work hours should all be taken into account. Never wait more than one or two days to respond, though, or you may be surprised to find that someone else has already accepted YOUR job.
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