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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.