Shortly after I graduated, I went into the field of education. I did one year of AmeriCorps service, mentoring and teaching students at an elementary school, and was paid a small stipend every two weeks. Once my year of service was over, I scrambled to find my next job. Eventually I landed an opportunity but I was so happy to be employed and thankful that I was getting paid more than just a bi-weekly stipend that I didn’t even think about negotiating my salary. Understandably so, as a millennial who graduated with a large sum of student loan debt, my first priority was to just get a job that paid, ASAP. I also didn’t feel like I had the right to negotiate my salary because I didn’t have much job experience or even all of the necessary skills posted in the job description.
However, not negotiating my salary was a huge mistake.
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Reading those statistics got me so upset because I know that there's no sound basis for why women get paid less than men. It’s important to note that the gender pay gap also affects all women, no matter what career path you choose or how many degrees you earn.
Although, there is much legislative work needed to be done to change the gender pay gap, I also believe that there are steps that we can take as millennials to make sure that we aren’t losing out on income. For starters, frank and open conversations around this issue are needed, as well as tools and resources so that we can learn the ins and outs of salary negotiation. One great place to start is aauw.org.
Lastly, know this — as a new graduate, you are worthy of earning more and have so much to offer to your future employer, even if you don’t necessarily have the years of experience. Ultimately, it’s about the value you bring. Therefore, I urge you to negotiate your salary the next time around.
- Go into that meeting prepared with your pitch, know what you are going to say.
- Practice your pitch beforehand so that you'll feel more confident going into your meeting.
- The best time to negotiate your salary is once an offer has been made, until then don't mention anything about your salary.
- Also know that they can say no. You have to ask yourself if you're willing to walk away if the money isn’t right.
- Look for salary negotiation workshops in your city or a city near you. Often they are free and provide very helpful information.
- Look up and research questions and responses that employers might ask you during the salary negotiation and then tailor those responses to suit your needs.