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8 Ways Smart Fresh Graduates Negotiate For Higher Salaries

Posted by | August 3, 2017 | Graduate Article

While I was still in my first year of university, I was lucky enough to secure an internship at a PR firm. This was an exciting moment for me as it not only meant that I was getting the experience to build a career while still in school but being a paid internship I would always have something in my pocket at the end of the day.

The internship was what I wanted but I failed to negotiate the salary before I started working. I was so excited to be offered 3,000 as stipend that I never stopped to think about the expenses I would incur daily. Well, to cut the long story short I completed my 3 month internship but at the end of it I was up to my neck in debt.

The transport fee ended up taking the entire salary and I had to add an extra 1,500 on top to cover it all and not factoring in other expenses. Why am I telling you this? If at that time I had someone tell me that it’s okay to negotiate a salary, I would probably have had enough for expenses and even for a savings account.

You may be starting a new job or have been invited for a job interview and deep down you know the salary they are offering is mere peanuts but you can’t dare say anything because let’s face it, you have tasted the bitter pill of joblessness for far too long.

Take it from me, at the end of the day, that job won’t mean anything if you can’t cover your expenses. Here are great tips on how to negotiate a salary if you are an entry level job seeker that I wish I knew then

1. Know your Value

You can never be good at salary negotiation if you don’t know what you are worth. This means that you need to understand the job market at the moment. Do your research; what do your fellow entry level job seekers in the same position earn in that industry?

For instance if you are applying for an Accounts Assistant job, find out the starting salary of a CPA holder in Kenya. You can get salary ranges at

2. Talk about what you can do

Before you start talking about numbers show the employer what you can do or what you have already done and that way they are likely to take you serious. I knew what I was capable of accomplishing which gave me a very good recommendation letter at the end, but had I stated this from the beginning, I would have gotten a better offer.

3. Focus on the future not the present

It is very common for the employer to ask you what you are currently earning or your last salary in an interview.

When prompted with this question, the best thing to do is to be honest. If you are unemployed, just say so and then go ahead to talk about what you are looking for, your capabilities and the market value for someone in that position.

4. Consider the other person

When negotiation salaries, it is natural to just put ourselves in the picture not considering that your employer matters. Think about it.

Is the company capable of paying you the salary you want? Are the roles you will be undertaking worth the salary you are looking for?

5. Stay positive, not pushy

Negotiating a salary is scary and one of those conversations we all dread having with our prospective employers.

However, you should always try to keep the discussion as positive as possible.

For instance you can say something like “This is a position I would enjoy doing as it is in line with my career goals. However I do believe that I will do a superb job and a little something on my compensation is all I desire.”

With this the employer is more likely to consider your request.

6. Don’t mention personal needs

This is probably your first job which means that you are finally leaving the nest that is your parent’s care. However talking about how you need a good salary to afford rent and transport is a no go zone.

The truth is that other employees are also dealing with the same problems. Therefore stick it out the first few months, do a good job and then talk about a raise.

7. Negotiate a salary only if you have something to show for it

You won’t make it in the job market if you are a greedy job seeker who only wants to take without giving anything in return.

When offered a job, consider taking on the role first and from then on after you have something tangible to show for it, sit down and have that salary discussion with your employer.

8. Never Fear Moving On

Finally, if you know your value and that the company can offer more than what they are giving you but they are adamant, no need stretching yourself for a job that’s not worth it. It probably means that that was not the right job for you. Rejection may be the door to something better.

If however you have the means of supplementing your salary, maybe with the support of your parents, go on and take the job.

In the end, negotiation a salary is something you will find yourself doing in the course of your career. The goal is to understand your value and have something to show for your demands.

And by the way never be afraid to ask for better pay just because you are an entry level job seeker and feel you are not entitled to such a request.