Job Search: ON! ; Salary: HUH?

Now that I’m a college graduate, I’m on ferociously job hunting. In fact, since graduating, I’ve  received responses to all employers I’ve contacted. So what are the secrets in landing a job in such a tight economy?

  • Great cover letter
  • Resume
  • Interview
  • Salary Requirements…?

Salary: One of the most difficult and sensitive issues to discuss during the interview process-especially for a recent graduate. Like so many others, I sometimes turned into a tongue-tied fool; although I suspect interviewers are accustomed to that. Some noteworthy tips I learned along the way:

Let the interviewer bring it up. You want the job, right? Please, let the interviewer initiate that conversation. Often, interviewers will rule out “eager” candidates bringing it up too soon.

Do your research! There are great Web sites out there to help recent grads estimate what they can expect to earn. Try Salary.com . You can research positions, and job duties. Also, enter the zip code of the employer, and you’ll get a dollar figure based on area salaries.

Don’t be surprised with results! OK, I’m a recent grad, but I also have more than 15 years in the professional workforce. But when I first viewed prospective salaries for my profession – public relations – I bit my tongue. Although I’ve been on many interviews, I had no idea how much I undersold myself. In fact, salaries for full-time degreed employees – even entry level – are likely higher than you think.

• Don’t underestimate your worth! Remember, if your prospective employer/interviewer didn’t like something about your resume, you wouldn’t be sitting there in the first place! Interviewers don’t waste time on candidates they don’t have legitimate interest in! Stay positive, confident and relax. They like you. Breathe.

• When it’s time, negotiate! Once you’ve been presented with a job offer, take a moment to process. If you’ve marketed yourself as worthy to the company, this silence may have them wiggling in their seats for your response.

Remember, an offer means: we want you to work for us! If the salary is what you expect, great! If not, access your research and request something within that range. Salary negotiations are uncomfortable, but prospective employers appreciate candidates who take time to research their companies and personal worth, too. Also, you can always negotiate added benefits, such as more sick/personal paid time, if your salary is less than expected.


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