If you’re a recent college graduate, you likely feel pretty thankful if you already have a job offer in your hands. However, that doesn’t mean you feel happy about the salary they chose to offer. And, if you don’t have an offer yet, that doesn’t mean you aren’t curious as to how to proceed once one comes through. Either case could leave you wondering whether you should attempt to negotiate the pay rate for your first job after graduation or if you are stuck with whatever they threw out there.

So, can a new grad negotiate the salary for their first post-college position? It depends. Here’s what you need to know.

Standardized Entry-Level Positions

In some cases, entry-level positions within a particular company come with a standard salary offering. If the organization clearly explained upfront that this is what they pay anyone stepping into this job, then you likely don’t have much room to negotiate. This is especially true if the compensation rate was specifically listed in the job announcement.

You may also see similar restrictions in positions that aren’t necessarily entry-level, especially if you are interested in working for the government. Often, each government job type is controlled by a specific salary range, and the initial offer is often at the lowest point for those who haven’t previously worked in the field. However, these salary ranges are available to the public, and often included in the job posting, so you likely know what the lowest starting pay rate is before you apply. Just understand that if you don’t have experience beyond your education, it isn’t uncommon to start at the bottom.

Late Stage Salary Discussions

Often, companies don’t begin discussing salary into they are interested in extending an offer. In these cases, it is important to research the current market rate for professionals with a similar amount of education and experience working in that particular position. You can use websites like Glassdoor to see if other employees of the company have listed their pay rate, as well as what area competitors are offering workers with similar skills.

When a business is offering a salary that is lower than the going rate, you may have some room to negotiate. However, you need to justify your request beyond your research. This means demonstrating that you bring something to the table that makes the higher salary a worthwhile investment.

If you can’t come up with a sufficient strategy to do so, then you do have other options. For example, you can request your first review come at the six-month mark instead of having to wait for 12-months to see if you qualify for a raise. This can give you an opportunity to prove your worth on the job while allowing you to discuss your salary sooner than you may be able to otherwise.

In some cases, you may find the company isn’t willing to budge in any area and, if the salary offered isn’t livable, you may have to explore other options. At times, working with a professional recruiter can help you locate better opportunities, allowing you to start with a strong salary right out of the gate. At TempStaff, we understand the importance of your initial pay rate. Contact us to see how our services can help get your new IT career off to a great start.



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