In our lives, many things require negotiation, whether within our family, with friends, colleagues, and so on. How we negotiate our time, and the things we do daily with others requires some reflection on our part, and actively listening to the needs of others. 

Of the many forms of negotiation that transpire, salary is one of the big ones, and where folks have the most questions. This is also a time in our lives where the topic raises questions about how and when salary can be discussed in light of the pandemic.

Earlier this spring, the ECDC hosted a presentation to graduate students on the topic. Whether in the midst of career transitions, seeking promotions, graduate students are in unique positions to have these discussions. The advice shared is also helpful for new and current alumni who are new to the process.

Top three things to know about salary negotiation:

  1. It’s about coming to a mutual agreement that works for both parties involved. As the job applicant, you’re thinking about what you need inorder to live comfortably. The employer is also considering their budget and what they can offer. Part of the negotiation process is about having the conversation around needs, expectations, and reaching a number that both parties are happy with.
  2. The research you do and the value you share in an interview makes a huge impact on your ability to negotiate. The ECDC provides a salary guide that helps you research salary ranges in your field. The guide also includes resources that help you look carefully at your level of education, years of experience and where you live. Keep in mind that when you choose a salary range you desire, you also want to remind the employer of the value you bring. Your value is both soft and hard skills, other talents and your Emerson education, all of which helps back up what you’re asking for.
  3. It’s not all about the money. Look at your whole compensation package and ask questions. Aside from your salary, what are the health benefits like? Are they flexible with work schedules or working remotely? What are the opportunities for professional development? Also review what you get for vacation, personal and sick time.

How does this advice apply to international students?

For international students who are in a position to negotiate their salary for a job, a lot of it comes down to understanding how to have the conversation with a U.S employer. The U.S cultural norms of individualism and self promotion in career require practice. The nuance of marketing yourself, the self advocacy combined with your research is great to exercise in a practice interview. If you’re looking for more information on career preparation for international students, check out our new Career Course for International Students.

How do I negotiate more flexibility into my work schedule with my current employer?

Similarly to top tip #3, salary negotiation is also about other things you can negotiate for yourself should you take the job. Flexibility for your schedule or location is one of those things. For negotiation with a current employer, it’s important to prepare, in advance, how you intend to continue doing your job effectively and what you have in place for structure and productivity when you request changes in your work schedule. 

The things that you learn for your Emerson work, creativity and innovation you will bring with you to every job. The business of your career also requires negotiating what you’re worth.

Onward and keep doing those practice interviews!

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