Negotiating Salary.

1989719848_ea49c65b2f_mSalary requirements. What does that phrase even mean to someone who’s fresh out of college and brand new to the job market? When I was first getting started, I remember thinking, “my only salary requirement is that there is a salary.” But even that wasn’t true; if there had been a way for an employer to work directly with a landlord and a local grocery store to ensure that I had a place to stay and food to eat, I probably would have been fine with it, maybe even preferred it.

But I couldn’t say that. I couldn’t just write down, “I’ll take whatever you want to give me.” Because even for a first job, you need to show that you’re ready to enter the working world, and that means being confident in yourself. No, you might not want to demand six figures for an entry-level support position, but you do want to show you understand how much work the position will be. If I saw someone was willing to take $20k for a job that traditionally paid $50k, my first thought wouldn’t be, “What a bargain!” On the contrary, I would probably think, “Oh, this kid is in over his/her head.”

So, do the research. Before you apply for a job that asks for salary requirements, take a spin around the Internet. See if you can find a chart of the industry standard based on years of experience. Check out Glassdoor; maybe someone’s reported a salary for the exact job you’re interested in. No, not every site is super accurate, but there is plenty of very useful information out there that’ll give you some prospective and help you establish yourself as a humble yet serious job candidate.

What do you do when it comes to salary requirements? Do you shoot low or aim high? Let us know in the comments.

(photo by Flickr user Dustin Moore used under a Creative Commons License.)

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