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How to Negotiate an Entry-level Job Salary
How to Negotiate an Entry-level Job Salary
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Campus Money Diaries

How to Negotiate an Entry-level Job Salary

Sheila Brenda Andoi
March 3, 2022

Leaving college and joining the "real world" can be nerve-racking. The job search can be stressful, and if getting a job is your main objective, it may be tempting to accept the first offer you hear from a potential employer. Accepting a low-wage job, on the other hand, may come back to haunt you for the rest of your career.

Many graduates make the mistake of accepting their first entry-level job offer without realising how much a little research might help them land a better pay. Even fewer recognize the significance of negotiating their compensation rate early on.

More than half of workers (56%) do not bargain when offered a job opportunity, according to CareerBuilder, an employment website.

However, there is some good news: most employers will negotiate even with entry-level employees. According to CareerBuilder, more than half of employers (53%) said they would be willing to discuss first-time pay. 

It's actually part of their strategy: most employers will start with a lower salary, leaving room for negotiation. So, if you don't negotiate, you could be throwing money away!

If you think about it that way, why wouldn't you negotiate? Here are five tips to help you.

#1 Know What You're Worth in the Marketplace

This is when your understanding of the company, the role, and the industry will come in helpful. One of the most important aims in negotiating is to avoid selling yourself short by accepting a "low offer" simply because you're ecstatic to get the job.

You don't want to go too far, though, and end up overbidding yourself from the job.  In a competitive job market, job seekers, particularly those with little experience, find it tough to negotiate. It's vital to properly know what your abilities and education are worth in the commercial industry, but you should also keep your ambitions in check and be realistic since what you want now may not be feasible.

Read on to learn more about seven habits of highly effective job seekers.

#2 Please Take Your Time.

If you are a recent college graduate, you should be aware that you are not required to accept a job offer right away! You were given the job because an employer wanted you to work there. Please take as much time as you need to think about the matter.

While deciding whether or not to accept a job offer, it's a good idea to conduct industry-specific research and look at typical compensation for employees in your sector. 

You should also assess your role's responsibilities, requirements, and expectations. When you've decided on a salary, it's a good idea to compile a range of salaries, beginning with the lowest amount you'd be ready to accept.

Go to sites like, MyWageKenya, PayScale, and others to get a median range for similar positions.

You can also ask friends and family what other people in similar positions make. While conducting your research, keep in mind that the pay of others is influenced by their experience, geography, firm size, and whether they work in the public or private sector.

#3 Map Out Your Budget

While the preceding point underlines the significance of conducting research to determine your fair market value, you should also keep in mind that everyone's predicament is unique.

It is prudent to create a budget that accounts for your location, house rent, transportation expenditures, student loan repayments, retirement contributions, and black tax (if it applies to you), among other things.

According to Gabrielle Bill, a career coach, a sample budget can help you establish a salary range that takes into account not only research but also individual affordability and what compromises you would have to make.

#4 Have a Figure in Mind

Job searching and interviewing are time-consuming processes that can take up many hours of your time over a period of several weeks. When you finally get a job offer, it's tempting to get caught up in the moment and forget to negotiate.

As a result, before accepting a job offer, determine your lowest acceptable compensation in accordance with your industry research.  This is the minimum wage you'll take if you accept the employment, and it's critical in salary negotiations.

After conducting your study, you will most likely come up with a range that represents your market value. 

With this number in mind, you may negotiate a starting wage with confidence, knowing that you will either exceed it and accept the job or decline the opportunity because it isn't a suitable fit.

She Negotiates founder, Victoria Pynchon first and foremost recommends assuming you are entitled to top pay. Second, your employer is almost certainly going to want to negotiate a lower compensation, so you'll need some wiggle room to earn a wage you'll be comfortable with.

#5 Don’t Fear to Hear a No

Many organisations set entry-level salaries, and you may be unable to negotiate your initial job offer since the salaries are not negotiable, according to the employer. If this is the case, think about whether you'd be happy with the recommended wage over the following year or two. 

Is the current offer a suitable fit for the time being, given external factors such as unemployment, the job market, and your skillset? If this is the case, accept it with grace and leave your mind open to other options as time passes.

Remember, income isn't the only thing that can be negotiated for! If your salary is set, you can negotiate work flexibility, bonuses, and other benefits. However, there is a chance that employers would refuse to negotiate and will stick to their original offer, especially if it is a first-time job.

You may be afraid of rejection, but according to Pynchon, a negotiation does not begin until someone says "no."

“It's hardly really a negotiation if we're asking for what we already know our employer wants," she says. “Negotiation is a conversation in which the goal is to reach an agreement with someone whose interests differ from yours."

“So remember that "no" is merely a part of the process, not an evaluation of your performance.”


It is vital not to be offended if someone gives you a salary that appears to be too low. When conversing with a potential employer, it is important to maintain a positive and professional demeanour at all times.

 Instead of ranting at the hiring manager, state gently that you're thrilled with the position and the offer, but you'd want to be paid more.

When asking for a better salary, keep in mind that you're having a conversation, not making a demand. Prepare to justify why you believe you should be paid more than they are currently offering you.

So, adopt the right attitude and go for it!

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Sheila Brenda Andoi is a communicator, journalist, editor, and writer passionate about human-interest stories. You can find her on Twitter @sheilaandoi

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