What numerous school grads do not find out about their first job provide

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Throughout our student lives, we work hard to get a good education that will lead us to a solid job and a fruitful career. But we’re not prepared for what happens after graduation – tasks like looking for a home, getting that first job, and paying rent and other bills.

You can’t just take the first job offer and assume that everything will work out. It’s important to find the right job that pays enough to allow you to afford your rent and bills – and also has enough left over to spend and save money. And what many college graduates don’t know is that you can and should negotiate your first salary.

“I think a lot of students are more worried about a job than simply taking the first offer,” said Anna Berrios, a licensed professional advisor with Buckeye Careers, Ohio State University.

According to Personal Finance site nerdwallet, only 38% of new graduates negotiate with their employer when they get their first job offer. But now, most employers actually expect to negotiate salaries – even for a first job – so they build that in. That said, if you don’t even try, you could be leaving money on the table!

Mattathia Komla, a current MBA candidate at the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham, said she was just happy to get a job after graduating with her bachelor’s degree.

Mattathia Komla, a current MBA candidate at the Gabelli School of Business in Fordham

Source: Koami Dzidzonu

“I didn’t even know what a typical starting salary is,” said Komla. “I was naive that I could negotiate my salary.”

She assumed that since she had little experience, she had no way of refusing or negotiating the offer. So she decided on an offer that was way below her question.

The wage gap

Everyone should negotiate their wages, but it is even more important that women stand up for themselves considering the wage gap.

According to PayScale’s State of the Gender Pay Gap 2021 report, women make 82 cents for every dollar a man makes. For women of color, that number drops to around 75 cents.

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“Some women feel uncomfortable talking about salary and are reluctant to ask for more,” Berrios said.

It certainly doesn’t help that many of us haven’t had finance discussions at school or at home.

And Berrios adds – cultural conditioning and stereotypes could play a role. Some women may worry about appearing pushy or rude when asking for more – something most men don’t have to think about.

“Instead, all women – especially marginalized women – need to value themselves and be confident in communicating their worth,” said Berrios.

The pay gap has received a lot of attention in recent years and we are finally starting to see some progress.

“Women bargain more than they have in the past, even though men continue to bargain for higher wages,” affirmed Gloria L. Blackwell, vice president of scholarships and programs for the American Association of University Women. “Women are increasingly negotiating, especially younger women,” between the ages of 18 and 34, she said, citing a study by global recruitment agency Robert Half.

Know your worth

Now you can’t just come around and ask for more money than they are offering just because you know you are statistically likely to make less. You need to do your research and get in armed with what you are worth.

First step: Know the starting salary in your area.

Berrios advises students to always look for vacancies and stresses the importance of building personal networks by talking to other job seekers, reading business publications, and taking advantage of job vacancies. You can learn a lot about salaries by speaking to people and browsing job vacancies on a regular basis. And of course there are special tools on job boards like PayScale and Glassdoor that you can use to determine salary ranges for jobs in your area.

Tiona Ryan, a student at the University of Kentucky who graduated this December, was well aware of the pay gap and knew she would be more disadvantaged.

“Growing up in a household with single parents, my mom advised me and my sister that people will have very low expectations of you,” said Ryan. “That’s why you should have these expectations of yourself and never be surprised by what you can offer.”

That’s why she has always been motivated to be competitive on applications which has helped her secure a job before graduation.

Tiona Ryan, a student at the University of Kentucky, will graduate this December.

Source: AJ Franklin

She did some research and found that the starting salary for a young human resources professional would be around $ 40,000 a year.

“I know Glassdoor and LinkedIn Premium very well,” said Ryan. “They are great tools to access salary ranges for any area.”

You also need to go into a salary negotiation with a few bullet points about what you bring to the table. Why should they hire you over someone else? Why are you worth what you ask of them?

State anything that sets you apart and use the language of the job description. So, if you’re looking for a self-starter who can handle many tasks at once, use these words to describe yourself and even give examples of when you’ve shown these qualities in a job, internship, or other project.

You are the best ambassador for yourself! “Said Abisola Akinkuowo, program manager for AAUW’s START Smart program, which aims to educate college students about salaries.

Look for other benefits

Don’t play hard. Do your research and ask for what you want, but realize when they’re not ready to give in on salary.

What to do if your request for a higher salary is turned down is to see if there are other ways to sweeten the offer.

“[S]Students need to be aware that there are perks that are negotiable, “said Berrios. For example, reimbursement of tuition fees or moving expenses.”

They can explain that the offer is lower than you hoped, but ask if there are any other benefits they might want to include in the offer. This can be anything from cost of living adjustments to education and training programs, expense accounts, time off, rewards, and moving experiences.

How do you negotiate your first salary?

Know your strategy

It’s important to have a plan and know how this negotiation will go – don’t just let it get started.

First, do not lead the salary negotiations until AFTER you have received a formal offer, advises Akinkuowo.

And when you’re asked for a salary number first, don’t just blurt out one. Give them an area based on your research.

And if you ask about the high end of the range – be ready to back it up with why you deserve it. Name your experience and qualities that make you perfect for the job and the organization.

Work out! Work out! Work out!

This is one of the most important conversations you will have in your life – what you deserve is important to everything else you do. So take the time to practice the bullet points you bring with you and how you would approach a salary question. Calculate any stuttering or stumbling so that you are relaxed and your answers are smooth when you get to the conversation.

Think of it like a test: if you study for it, you’ll step into it much more confidently! And self-confidence will secure your job – and your salary.

Akinkuowo strives to share this information with others in order to empower women around the world.

“It’s not just about us. It’s about generational wealth!” said Akinkuowo.

So when you bargain, raise the bar for yourself – and for those who follow in your footsteps.

Further information on preparing for the salary negotiation can be found in the AAUW’s free program Work smart online, a resource for women to learn how to negotiate their salaries online.

CNBC’s “College Voices” is a series written by CNBC interns from universities across the country about getting their college education, managing their own money, and starting their careers during these extraordinary times. Jennifer Iroh is a student at Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in health with a minor in social psychology. She is currently an intern in CNBC’s Human Resources department. The series is published by Cindy Perman.

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