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Should I Negotiate My Salary If It’s an Entry Level Position?

Updated: May 10, 2019

woman holding money like playing cards

The short answer: Yes!

But are you sure?

It’s scary, I know. Especially when you’re thrilled to get your first job offer. But hiring managers expect salary negotiation – and usually have wiggle room in their budget. Consider this: 90% of hiring managers said they never retracted an offer because an entry-level candidate attempted

to negotiate.

But what about the 10% who DID retract an offer?

I hear you. It’s a risk, I won’t lie. More than likely, the candidate demanded an unreasonable increase that the company couldn’t afford. Perhaps they came across as pushy and inflexible.

With practice and research, you can counter a salary offer with supreme confidence and professionalism. Really. I promise it will minimize the risk.

Not only that, it could give your employer a positive impression.

A positive impression? Asking for more money?

Don’t look at it that way. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. Would you rather have an employee who meekly accepts a low offer? Or an employee who respectfully presents a counter offer backed up with solid salary research?

You’ll give them a preview of what you’re like as a member of the team – prepared, reasonable,

and professional. That’s like the hiring trifecta. You just sealed the deal.

Do I really have any bargaining power though?

What you may not realize is that the hiring process is also very stressful (and expensive) for the company. Imagine screening hundreds of resumes, narrowing it down to five or six, interviewing each candidate, conducting background checks, and selecting a candidate. By the time you get a job offer, they’re very invested in you. They don’t want to start over!

Is a couple thousand worth losing the opportunity?

Ah, but it is. Workers who don’t negotiate their salary potentially lose out $1 million in earnings over the course of their career. It’s a cumulative effect. Think of it this way:

Raises are usually calculated as a percentage of your salary. If you’re paid $40,000 a year, and get a 3% raise each year, your new salary will be $41,200. If you negotiated for $43,000, and got the same raise, you’d be making $44,290. Over 45 or so years of work, this adds up.

And don’t forget, if you get a new job, many hiring managers ask for salary history to gauge their offer. Take $3,000 less for this job, and you’ll be starting your next salary negotiation

$3,000 behind.

If I do take the risk, what are my chances of getting the salary I’ve countered?

Pretty good, actually. 74% of employers reported they have room to increase their first offer by

5-10% during negotiations. Imagine leaving all that money on the table.

Keep in mind that younger workers (those with less than two years of experience) are 42 percent likely to be underpaid. That means most recent graduates aren’t negotiating. That doesn’t have

to be you.

You may not get exactly what you want, but there’s a good chance it will be higher than their original offer. And just like that – you’ve set yourself up for higher earning potential throughout

your career.

So, what should I remember?

• Almost half of recent graduates are underpaid.

• Unless the salary is set (as in a federal or military job), always negotiate!

• Relax. Hiring managers expect you to negotiate – and it’s highly unlikely they’d retract the offer.

• Negotiating (with professionalism) will make a good impression.

• You DO have bargaining power – they’ve invested a lot of time and effort to find you.

• If you don’t negotiate, there’s a good chance you’re leaving money on the table.

• Starting your first job at a lower salary can affect your long-term earning potential.

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