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Graduates: how to negotiate your salary

Published: Sunday, 16 September 2012   Category: All Graduate Jobs News

Some of the highest wages for university graduates can be found in Australia, according to a recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

University students graduating Down Under are ranked sixth out of the 34 OECD countries in relation to level of salary earned after completing their degree.

The Education at a Glance Report 2012 also shows that grads in Oz will earn a whopping 45% more than school leavers – proving that higher education really does pay.

In summary, the highest salaries are basically about as far out of reach as they could possibly be for UK graduates. Marvellous.

But never fear, Grad Plus is here – ready to tell you how to negotiate your salary and get your money’s worth out of your degree. 

Salary negotiation is a tough one to call. Candidates sometimes bring it up early and convey their salary expectations to potential employers in their cover letter – but this can be a risky move.

If you suggest a salary that is too high, your application is likely to turn into spare notepaper or a substitute for a coaster. But, if you go too low, employers may assume you’re not qualified. This means you only have a one-third chance of getting it right! So what can you do to up your chances of hitting the jackpot?

• The person who brings up a number first often ends up losing out. Throw the ball in the employer’s court and ask them how much they are offering – and then negotiate from there.

• If this will be your second or third job, rather than simply stating your previous salary to your employer, tell them what you earned but that the valuable skills you picked up there are worth an increase.

• If you’ve had a higher offer from another company, be honest and tell your potential employer – it might just panic them into thinking you (and your spectacular skill set) will go elsewhere. A quick word of warning though: it’s best not to make up others or lie about previous salary, as this could get you into trouble later. Your career often depends on your reputation, so it pays to keep it clean.

Sometimes you might find you don’t even need to negotiate. An eye-opening CV or show-stopping interview can convince employers just how wonderful you are, and if they see you as someone who will add value to their company, they may be willing to pay more for you.

This is why it’s important to keep examples of your best work, awards or recognitions and positive work evaluations!

Would you go abroad to find higher paying graduate jobs? Would you accept a lower salary to do a job you love?

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