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Evaluating Job Offers

How to discuss money with employers!

April 18, 2017 12:33 PM

Money is a touchy subject, even in an industry that you’re part of to make money. I know plenty of students that are nervous to discuss money with an employer because they simply don’t anything about what that process is like. That makes sense to me though; I’m a student first, and studying has always been my priority. I’ve never had a full-time job with a big salary that required a lot of background knowledge. But as graduation approaches and job offers are filing in, it’s important to know how to ask for the salary that you deserve.  

First, never bring up money until the employer does so first. If they bring it up before a job offer is finalized, try to be vague about what amount you’re looking for. Only give a specific dollar figure if they insist on having one, and even then let them know that you are willing to negotiate that number. The time to negotiate your salary is after the job offer is given; only then do you have a real, tangible offer to negotiate.

Deciding how much you think you should be paid is the hard, but also most important part of the process. You want to make sure that you go into the discussion knowing how much your skills are worth in the marketplace; that way, you can make sure you’re being paid what you’re deserved. Some sources to help you figure this information out are  NACE Salary Survey, Job Seekers Salary Calculator,,, and Career OneStops. If you want help using these sources, make an appointment with a Career Specialist!

That being said, you don’t want to provide a definite salary amount, but instead a range of figures you’d be comfortable with. When you tell an employer this information, explain why you think that range is important. Talk about what are the standard salary amounts in the field you’re applying for and why you think your qualifications lead you to the higher or lower end of the range.

Salary is not the only thing you should consider during these negotiations. Think about your benefits. Insurance and retirement plans are other  factors you want to consider. These plans can add as much as 30% to your compensation, You can have a high salary but no paid vacation days available to you during the year. Maybe you value having those days off in return for a slightly lower salary.

Think about what your work environment will be like; who you’re working with, how many hours you have to put in daily. You want to find a job you’re good at and workplace that you want to be at. Sometimes, these characteristics aren’t worth compromising.

On Wednesday, April 26, from 12 PM to 1 PM in Commons 331, the Career Center is hosting an information session about evaluating job offers. This is an excellent opportunity for you to learn about what’s important when it comes to accepting a job offer; characteristics you may not have even considered before! These components are often what will be the deciding factor behind your choice to accept or decline an offer.
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