Salary negotiations are SCARY. What if you look ridiculous or greedy? What if they laugh in your face? Thankfully, if you go in prepared, you can handle it. Here’s how to negotiate salary as a recent grad...

Go in prepared.

Research competitive salary rates on,, or to have an idea of what a realistic range looks like for this type of position. There’s no point in trying to negotiate if you go in unprepared - you will look foolish. Do your homework!

Think about the other perks.

Before you decline an offer, think about the other perks you’d get as an employee. Do you have great vacation benefits you can’t get anywhere else? Maybe the company offers a 401k or a tuition reimbursement. These are all great value-adds that you might not have thought of before. Also, don’t forget that you can negotiate for things like work-from-home opportunities, flextime, and other benefits.

Stay focused on the employer.

When you negotiate salary, don’t focus on what you need. Think about what the EMPLOYER needs and how you can help. Understand the problem areas and market yourself as the solution. Sweeten the deal by illustrating how you can make or save the company money. Show them why they NEED you, and then have a conversation about what you need in order to accept the offer.

Practice negotiating.

Articulating what you want or need during a salary negotiation can be difficult if you’re not used to doing it. The best way to get more comfortable and figure out the best talking points is to practice with a coach or mentor.

Know when (and when not) to push back.

You don’t always have to negotiate for a higher salary. In fact, there are definitely times when you shouldn’t, especially as a recent grad. If you need more help determining when you should and shouldn’t negotiate salary, chat with a career coach. If you need more help with your negotiating strategy, book an appointment with Longwood University Career Services and work with a career coach to make sure you’re going in prepared.

About the Author

Ariella Coombs

Over the last 4 years, Ariella has been creating fun, yet educational blog posts and videos to help professionals build the career lifestyle they want. Her work has been featured in 12+ online publications, including TeenVogue, Business Insider, H&R Block, USA TODAY College, and more. One day, she hopes to host my own TV or web show for career-minded millennials.

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