The Entry-Level Job Seeker’s Guide to Salary Negotiation

The Entry-Level Job Seeker’s Guide to Salary Negotiation was originally published on College Recruiter.


Younger workers, or those with only 0-2 years of experience, are 42 percent more likely to be underpaid (Paysa study).

Negotiating salary at the point of a job offer is when you will have the most leverage. Once you take the job, you won’t have as much to bargain with. If you don’t ask, you won’t get it!

We want you to get paid fairly almost as much as you do! At College Recruiter we believe that every student and grad deserves a great career. Every year we help thousands of entry-level  candidates find jobs, so we know a thing or two about how you can stand out to a potential employer. We gathered our insight, and included a lot of advice from our friend and expert career coach Marky Stein, into a full guide for entry-level job seekers.

Read the Entry-Level Job Seeker’s Guide to Salary Negotiation


Our guide to salary negotiation includes tips about:

  • Doing research beforehand
  • Keeping the conversation open
  • Telling convincing stories
  • The imposter syndrome
  • Talking points
  • Equal pay laws
  • What brings value to a company
  • When to ask for a raise

1. Before you negotiate, do some research. Your negotiation should be data-driven, based on what you found in your research. If you ask for more money without giving a hard reason for it, you’ll be less convincing. Figure out what others like you are making at that company by using tools like, Paysa, glassdoor or other salary calculators.

2. Keep the conversation open without committing. If you are given a low salary range early in the interview process, don’t turn it down quite yet. But don’t accept it completely. Say, “I would consider that.” This way you’re telling the employer you are willing to think about it, and that keeps you in the running. If you say “yes” to the low salary range, you’d be committing to a low wage that you would later resent. Later in the interview process you can prove yourself to be of greater value to the company, and negotiate the salary. See how.

Related: Our interview with career coach Marky Stein about salary negotiation

3. Know yourself. Tell real-life stories, specific accomplishments and share detailed knowledge that will enable you to make a real contribution to their company. You could use a specific accomplishment, project or even a paper that you wrote in school. Do not hold back in articulating your skills and experiences. Read a few examples of convincing stories in the full guide.

4. Negotiation talking points. First of all, try not to be the first one to bring up the topic of salary. Even then, do not come up with an exact number. Instead, say “in the low 60ks,” or “something at market rate.” Female applicants are less likely to ask than males. Women: be willing to enter into that negotiation, even if it is out of your comfort zone. See some possible talking points. 

5. Be aware of changing state laws. Some states have recently prohibited employers from asking about salary history, and more will likely follow. This is some good news for gender equity. For example, if you were being paid less than what you deserve at your last job and a recruiter asks you about your salary history, then bases their offer upon your former salary, that perpetuates you getting underpaid. These new state laws attempt to prevent that. If an interviewer, or anyone at any point during the interview process, asks you about your salary, this might not be legal, depending on their location.

We have more tips in the full Entry-Level Job Seeker’s Guide to Salary Negotiation



By College Recruiter
College Recruiter believes that every student and recent grad deserves a great career.