Dos and Don’ts of Salary Negotiation as A Fresh Graduate


Most of the time, salaries for entry-level graduate jobs are fixed with little room for negotiation. Typically, the salary for a position will be shown on the job ad. If it’s labeled as “competitive” rather than showing an actual number, it means the salary will be in line with the pay that similar organizations offer new graduates. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t times when you should negotiate your salary. The key is to know when and how to do that. Here’s a look at the dos and don’ts of salary negotiations for fresh graduates.

DO Leave the Salary Negotiation Until You Are Offered the Job

Unless your potential employer asks about the kind of salary you’re looking for sooner, such as during the application or interview stage, it’s best to leave the salary discussion until you have actually been offered the job. Also, if the position involves moving overseas, you can negotiate various benefits of an employee relocation package as well as the pay. But, again, wait until you have the job offer before you begin negotiating.

DO Research the Employer and the Industry

At whatever stage you begin discussing salaries, if you want to have the opportunity to negotiate a better rate, it’s essential you research the company and the industry in which it operates. When you know what kind of salaries are typical in your industry and what skills those pay grades reflect, you will be much better positioned to argue your case for a high salary with logic and professionalism. Think carefully about your salary aspirations and balance them with your skills or training requirements to consider what salary the company could realistically offer.

DO Show That You Provide Value for Money

Potential employers are looking for value for money. That doesn’t mean they are looking to pay the cheapest salary. It means they want to ensure they are getting the perfect fit for the role on offer and are willing to pay for someone who ticks all of their boxes. So, it’s important that you sell yourself when negotiating your salary, and have the information to back up any claims you make about yourself. For instance, it’s not enough to say, “I’m the right person for this role.” You also need to demonstrate why you are the right person. If you position yourself well and come across in the right way, the employer might not want to lose you and therefore be willing to pay the salary you desire.

DON’T Bluff

You may think that a clever tactic to negotiate better pay is to pretend you have another job offer so that you can play off one employer against the fictitious one. But that tactic should be avoided. Employers typically don’t respond well to such pressure and you could end up losing the job. However, if you do have a genuine offer from another company, it’s good to make that known. Just ensure you’re candid about the salary the company is offering you and don’t use it to pressure the other organization into giving you better pay.

DON’T Come Across as Too Laid Back or Eager

If you come across as too laid back, you won’t be able to demonstrate to your future employer that you have fire in your belly and have the professionalism and aspiration needed to command a higher salary. On the other hand, you don’t want to come across as too eager. When you’re overly keen, you can come across as overconfident and even cocky. So, get the balance right and ensure you are professional in everything you say when making your case for a higher salary. Remember: confidence is good. Too much confidence is bad.

DON’T Focus Mainly on the Salary

If you’re negotiating the salary during the interview stage, it’s imperative that you don’t seem more interested in the pay than in the position you are applying for. This is general good interview etiquette. You need to spend more time focusing on your skills and attributes, why you want to work in the industry and for the particular company, and what your aspirations are. When you demonstrate your genuine interest in the role and the company, your financial concerns will be balanced when you begin negotiating your salary.

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