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 Salary Discussion

We all work to be paid a salary that allows us to enjoy our lives in the way we see fit. Consequently, salary negotiations between you and your potential employer are key, because the offer you accept may affect you for years to come. Do not take the word negotiation lightly, most  human resource managers are given a  pay range when hiring. Your salary offer  will depend on the factors mentioned below along with  how  well you can sell yourself. Everyone believes they should be paid 6 figures for their work, but here are the true factors that weigh into how much you will be paid:

  • Job Market Until recently, the job market was on fire. There were more jobs to be filled than there were applicants. In accordance with basic economics, when there is high demand and low supply, buyers {employers} can expect to pay a premium. Therefore, it was not uncommon for college grads to start out with extremely high salaries and additional perks. However when the job market cools, the number of applicants out number job openings; consequently, lucrative offers and bonuses become less abundant.
  • Field of Study Your major in college will also play a role in the salary you command. Highly specialized training will command a premium while more generalized  majors will have a harder time landing a job with a sufficient salary.
  • Experience The more experience you bring to an employer, the less time and money they will have to spend training you. Internships and part-time job experience that is relevant to the position in question or help build needed skills can equal more $$$ in your offer.
  • Location Check the cost of living index where you plan to live. Making $40,000 living in St. Louis compared to the same $40,000 in New York City is an extreme difference. Research the cost of living in your desired city (housing, transportation, heating, and goods) to determine a set dollar amount you will need to live comfortably. 

After considering all of the above factors you should gain a sense of how much your worth. On job applications consider marking "open" under desired salary. By marking open you give yourself the opportunity to explain to the employer why you feel you are worth "x" amount of dollars. Before stating your case, get some type of feel on what the company is paying other grads to give you an accurate starting point. Many college career counselor have company salary information that is very useful before negotiating your offer. Libraries also offer reference books on occupations and corresponding salaries.

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