By Clay Wyatt
Posted on 05/10/2016

You just graduated college and want to move on from that job that helped you afford noodles and textbooks for a few years. After a seemingly endless job search and more interviews than you can remember, you’ve received an offer.

While it may seem tempting to accept the job and start planning your celebration in this example, you could leave money on the table by doing so. That’s because the employer may be willing to negotiate your salary and it almost certainly won’t volunteer to increase it unless you ask.

But negotiating a salary isn’t necessarily easy. And it may seem especially difficult for an entry-level position. After all, this is probably the first time you’ll negotiate a salary and you haven’t had an opportunity to prove yourself in your chosen industry yet. With this in mind, here are some tips for negotiating an entry-level salary.

Don’t Immediately Accept the Offer

Consider a situation in which you immediately accept an offer. You later realize that the salary is far below average for the position. Would you be enthusiastic about your new job?

Accepting an offer that you soon regret isn’t the best way to start your career. And trying to negotiate after accepting the offer probably won’t work in your favor. As such, consider the offer before committing to it. Check with the employer if you are not sure how long you have to decide.

Determine Whether the Offer is Negotiable

There’s no guarantee that the offer is negotiable. While you could simply ask if it is, keep in mind that entry-level jobs are typically less negotiable than others. Also, East Carolina University explains that the salary scales of most federal and state government jobs are non-negotiable.

Consider Demand

If workers in your field are in high demand, you’ll likely have an easier time negotiating a deal than if half of them are unemployed. In other words, if you possess a rare skill, employers may be more willing to negotiate as competition for your services is probably high. On the other hand, if local employers are laying workers off every day, you probably won’t have much room to negotiate.

Research

If you ask for $100,000 per year and the average entry-level salary in your field is $35,000, you probably won’t get anything close to what you’re looking for. As such, you’ll want to research relevant salaries in your area to get an idea of how much to ask for.

Determine When to Walk Away

Determine the minimum salary that you will accept. For instance, while you might want to earn $60,000 per year, you might still be willing to settle for $55,000 per year. However, if the current offer is $50,000 and the employer won’t go above $52,000, you’d decline the offer.

Remain Professional

Whether you ultimately reach an agreement or not, it is important to remain professional. Be sure to announce your decision as quickly as possible. And even if you reject the offer, thank the hiring manager for considering you as a candidate. By doing so, you’ll help end the hiring process on a positive note, which can only be good for the employer and your career.