3 Tactics to Help Negotiate a Higher Salary at Your First Job

So you’ve just accepted your first “real world” job and it’s time to talk salary. But since it’s your first job, you’re feeling nervous about asking for more money, and you don’t even know how to start. Women especially have the disadvantage in the workplace, as we make 80 cents on the dollar compared to men, according to the United States Census Bureau

However, now more than ever there are high-profile women asking for the money they deserve, so why can’t you? Negotiating a salary for your first job doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking! You just need to know a few things first to go in swinging the right way.

Ask questions to determine what's negotiable. 

It’s important to ask the right questions in the negotiation process to make sure you’re getting all the correct information about the salary you’ll be receiving. The first thing to ask is if your proposed base salary is negotiable. And that's not just something you should inquire about if you’re unhappy with the original proposal – it never hurts to ask, if that means there could an even better outcome for you.

You will definitely need to know if your employer is open to arranging a new salary, and this is the green light to request to revise the package.

“How did you arrive at that number?” is another crucial question to ask, so you can understand the data your employer is basing salary off of, and you'll be able to compare if they’re considering the industry standard for this position.

You should also ask yourself several things in order to be fully prepared for your negotiation and understand what your end goal is. You can’t get what you want without knowing what it is you want. Consider the following:

  •  Will you be taking on more responsibilities when filling this new role?
  •  Do you want to negotiate benefits too?
  • If you don’t get the salary you want, is that a dealbreaker?
  • What base compensation and benefits package do you want to ask for?

These questions are essential to help you decide what you'd like to push back on about your offer package.

Have numbers to compare to. 

You need to have solid numbers, like the industry standard for your role and what’s considered standard pay at that company, when negotiating your salary. You can search on Glassdoor or even ask those in your field, via LinkedIn or in person to help you calculate numbers. This is critical so that you have more control over the situation, and so that you have a clearer idea of what you’re asking for. In order to narrow down on a specific price for your work, you need to do your research.

Although you will find a range of salaries you should consider, you want to go in asking for a very specific, concrete number, starting at the top of your range and negotiating from there.

Your salary is not the only number you should have prepared, but the quantity of responsibility you will have in the role. This can include a specific increase in sales/revenue you'll bring, the number of team members you'll manage, an increase of social media interactions/views you'll aim for, etc.

Practice having the conversation in advance.

Be as prepared as possible, and ready for anything. Consider what could happen in the best-case and worst-case scenarios. Have a general idea of how you will approach and shape that conversation, what questions you should prepare to respond to, data you'll need to prodive, and such. 

The best way to prepare for this conversation is to practice. Practicing before you sit with your employer to negotiate will improve your chances of getting what you want, enhance your confidence, and ensure you’re giving the conversation 100 percent. Practice with the method that works best for you, such as recording yourself, talking to yourself in the mirror or writing out what you’re going to say, so that all your thoughts are organized.

After gathering all the information and data you can and sculpting your pitch, now you’re ready to negotiate and (hopefully) get that higher pay! Time to start the discussion and make the most of what your new job can offer you!