4 Myths About Salary Negotiation

Let’s be real – salary negotiation can be intimidating and very hard to understand, so where do we even start?  Research is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle that is salary negotiation. The more research you gather before negotiating salary with an employer the higher your confidence will be when you enter the conversation. Remember, salary negotiation is a conversation that looks for win-win solutions – it is not a debate over salary.  In order to understand the process better, let’s take a look at a few common myths when it comes to negotiating salary.

Myth #1: You shouldn’t negotiate the salary if this is your first full-time position.
Salary negotiation is never completely off the table as an option – no matter if this is your first full-time job or you’ve been a professional in an industry for 15 years. Career center staff members have often heard the statement “well, shouldn’t I be grateful for the salary they are offering?” This is a fair thought to have, however, there are many things that go into ensuring it is a reasonable salary offer such as cost of living in the area, benefits in addition to the salary, and many more. 

Additionally – remember that when annual raises are calculated as a percentage of your salary. If you are able to negotiate a higher salary this will maximize your earning potential over the years!

Myth #2: Salary is the only thing you can negotiate.
There are many other factors present when receiving a job offer outside of salary. Many times an offer will include information on health benefits, retirement investments, annual leave and sick leave, relocation, and much more!
If negotiation is not available as an option to you on the salary number specifically do not be afraid to negotiate items such as extended vacation days, work from home time, or relocation funds. The relocation funds can be extremely beneficial if you need to move for a full-time position. 

Myth #3: A company will take back an offer if you negotiate.
More times than not a company will not retract an offer if you ask to negotiate salary. If fact, the majority of companies expect to negotiate salary following an offer and the majority of companies provide a salary range. It all begins by simply asking “are you open to discussing the salary.” This can be nerve-wracking – I complete understand, I’ve been there. Try to remember all they can do is say no. 

The most important thing to remember is this company has possibly gone through a lengthy interview and search process for this role ending with offering you the job. They are motivated to have you accept the offer and more likely to negotiate. 

Myth #4: As a recent grad, I have no negotiation leverage.
So that student organization you were involved in for three years and served as the Public Relations and Marketing Chair doesn’t count? False. The leverage you hold as a recent grad when negotiating salary can come from relevant internship experience or involvement in a student organization. If it is relevant to the responsibilities of the position, I encourage you to feel confident in bringing it to the table during negotiations.

Top Negotiation Tip: Research, Research, Research
The more research you do prior to negotiating salary the more confident you will be!

Glassdoor Salary Resource: access the salary tool for free through the UGA Career Center website. You can search the average base pay for job roles you are interested in by location in order to understand the average amount an employee makes in 1 year within that area.

Salary.com: this resource also helps you understand what the salary range is for a job role within a certain city and state.

Cost of Living Calculator: Nerd Wallet and Smart Asset have great cost of living calculators as a resource to use when researching how much higher the cost could be in San Francisco, CA compared to Athens, GA, for example. These resources also help you understand an accurate salary range needed in order to have the same standard of living when you move.

UGA Career Center Resources: check out the 5 Steps to Negotiating Salary resource page on our website. This will expand your understanding of steps to take when negotiating salary and help you feel confident when beginning the conversation!

AAUW: this is a salary negotiation resource geared towards women, however it has extremely helpful tips and articles surrounding the negotiation conversation.

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