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Congratulations on landing that job! But wait, do you know that being able to negotiate your first salary well as a newbie in the workforce can add a total of over $1 million to your total lifelong salary? Yes, so, that is how much you will be gifting your employer in case you lack the skills to negotiate your first salary, according to Linda Babcock, an economist.

Negotiating your salary may seem intimidating, but yes it does, actually because of how many job seekers lost their job through salary negotiation and how some don’t have a clue about their worth. According to Robert Half, only 39% of employees in every 2,700 talk about their salaries – that is 1,053 out of 2,700.

Nevertheless, it is better to negotiate than to accept any offer. This is because, knowing your worth tells your employer that you know how much to contribute to the workforce, however, you should be ready to adjust to your employer’s budget sometimes.

Before you even think of negotiating, you must know the point at which to engage in negotiation and when not. For example, you should not ask about negotiation when you are being interviewed, wait until you pass the interview and have your appointment letter.

When and Why Do You Have To Negotiate Your Salary?

  • You can talk about the salary during the interview process but it is best to negotiate your salary when you are sure they want to hire you. As in, they have offered you an appointment letter or job offer
  • Negotiate salary when the job requests a unique skill set. Let’s say you are a Data Analyst and you know the problem of the firm trying to hire you, give them an idea of what you can do and how it will solve their problem. At that point, you can negotiate salary during the interview process. But don’t do that if you are a Mathematics Teacher or a cleaner. If you are any of those, use option one above.
  • Negotiate when you know what you can offer. For example, your former job used to pay you $4k, then your new offer is $3k when demand is high and your skillset is rare.
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Note: Do not negotiate when the offer is far better than what you used to have as you can lose the job in a flash by demanding a raise. And also, do not negotiate a government offer.

Strategies For Negotiating Your First Salary

  1. Do your Research

Before considering negotiating, make sure you have a fair idea of the market rate for your position, industry,65, and location. You can use online tools such as Glassdoor, PayScale, or Salary.com to find the average salary range for the job.

You can also connect with people who have done such jobs and enquire from them. Having this information will help you have a good negotiation because you can’t just mention any amount.

2. Know Your Worth

Besides the market rate, you should know what values you have as a valuable employee. For example, you may have relevant internships, certifications, awards, and projects that demonstrate your expertise, any soft that is important to the role such as communication, teamwork, and leadership should be highlighted or you can create a portfolio and add it to your application.

3. Be Prepared to Negotiate

When you receive the offer, do not accept it right away. Just send appreciation notes and your enthusiasm. Ask for some time for time get back with your counteroffer. This timeframe shouldn’t be more than 2 days [ 48 hours ].

Use this period to prepare your counteroffer and be prepared to negotiate not only salary but compensations, bonuses, and also flexible hours.

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4. Be Confident and Respectful

Be confident and respectful not assertive and arrogant. Using a polite and gentle tone, explain why you deserve a higher salary based on your research and proposition. For example, instead of saying ‘I can’t accept anything less than $X’ say ‘ Based on my proposition and research, I believe $X salary is fair for this position’.

Also, be ready to respect the employer’s budget constraints if the need be.

5. Practice and Rehearse

Negotiating your first salary as a new graduate can be nerve-wracking, so it will be helpful if you can have a friend or parent role-play an employer and give you genuine feedback.

You can also self-practice by writing down your script and rehearsing it loud in front of a camera or mirror. This will help improve your delivery, tone, body language, and confidence.

6. Consider long-term Growth

While negotiating your first salary is very important, you can as well look beyond the immediate financial gains and consider the long-term growth and opportunities the company offers. Your first company after university will expose you to massive practical lessons you deserve to soar higher in your future career so bending your hooks a little in salary for such expertise won’t be bad.


Negotiating your first salary as a new graduate is an opportunity to advocate for your wealth and have a strong financial foundation. By putting the above-stated strategies and tips into use, you can navigate the process.

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