BYOA Question: “I was offered a job in an entry level position after college/grad school. Should I try to negotiate a salary from my first job offer?”
Short answer: Yes, but how you ask matters.
Long answer: When ever you are given a job offer at any level with any amount of experience you as a professional owe it to yourself to negotiate the best salary possible. However, understand that the context of the request matters. If you are a recent graduate with little to no experience and are offered a fair (competitive) salary it’s always good to ask “Is this offer firm?,” but never assume you can negotiate to a higher amount. Many employers may come back with yes (it’s a firm offer), but some will say no, and open the door to ask for a starting bump. At this point you should have done your homework.
- Understand what the “market” salary is for someone with your experience
- Don’t be afraid to ask for non-salary benefits (vacation, 401K, bonus, lower healthcare, cell phone subsidy, etc)
- Be confident
Everyone should feel confident to at least try to negotiate a salary. You won’t offend the employer if you do it professionally and with justification. All of this affects your future earnings potential and a small bump early on can affect your morale and ability to save early in your career.