If you’re on the job hunt and have landed a few interviews or even a few offers, here’s what you need to know about negotiating your salary and making sure you’ll be paid enough to survive.
To tell us how it’s done, The Collegian interviewed Hillsdale alum Macaela Bennett ’16, who is a business reporter for the Greenwich Time in Greenwich, CT. Here’s a list of the takeaways:
Reach out to alums for advice. Start by asking other Hillsdale alums within your industry what they were paid at their entry-level jobs, Bennett said. Then you’ll have a general idea of how much is reasonable to ask for when you’re discussing salary and benefits with a potential employer. If you’re moving to a new city, ask friends or alums where they lived on their entry-level salaries so you can figure out affordable housing options.
“Ask uncomfortable questions.” It’s really important not to take a job that pays you less than you can live on, so make sure you know all the details of your compensation and benefits package. Don’t be afraid to discuss the details with your employer — to a large extent, your quality of life depends on it.
“You just have to be willing to ask uncomfortable questions,” Bennett said. “How much vacation time are you going to get? Is your employer going to be willing to pay for my continued learning (like a master’s degree, conferences, flights to conferences, etc)? Also if you’re going to have good healthcare through your employer, it’s totally worth taking a little bit of a pay cut from your salary.”
Know how much your student loan payments are going to be each month. If you have student debt, it’s imperative you know how much your monthly payments will be, because that can limit your housing options.
“Also, 50 – 75 percent of millennials and kids in their 20s are receiving help from their parents for rent or student loans,” Bennett said. “So you need to ask your parents if they’ll be prepared to help with that.”
Talk to Financial Aid before you graduate if you have Hillsdale loans. Don’t forget to sit down with your financial aid counselor and discuss your Hillsdale loan repayments, if you have them, Bennett said. That can be part of the senior exit interview, so make sure you schedule one — the counselors will help you devise a payment plan and enter the professional world on the right foot.
Ms. Patrick is a senior studying history and journalism.