As students look ahead to landing their dream job, polishing their résumés and pulling together the perfect portfolio may be on the top of their list. However, many may overlook one important part of the process: negotiating their salary. On February 20, at the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Smart Salary Negotiation Workshop co-hosted by New York Tech’s Women’s Technology Council, Maria Ellis, AAUW’s New York State district director, facilitated discussion and role-play to help students gain confidence when negotiating salaries and benefits with a prospective employer.
Ellis shared that there are four steps of salary negotiation: Know your value, know your target salary and benefits, know your strategy, and practice negotiating. For a prospective employee to fully know their value, they have to be aware of their accomplishments, skills, and experiences, which are commonly included in a résumé. When asking for a higher salary or benefits, the prospective employee should do basic research on salary ranges for a particular job in the location they are applying. The salary range might change depending on the economic situation in that specific area. To be ready to negotiate their salary, job candidates need to have a strategy on how to properly communicate it and discuss it during an interview. Lastly, it is important to practice all scenarios of the possible negotiation. Many students pursuing their first job lack the ability to be objective, strategic, and persuasive while negotiating. Practicing with a partner will be the best way to acquire these skills.
Ellis also explained the importance and impacts of the gender pay gap. The process of salary negotiation may not only help you gain financial stability, but can also help eliminate the pay gap. “I learned that women need to be advocates for themselves when negotiating their salaries; much more so than men,” said Emily Peacock, a global and electronic journalism major who attended the workshop. “My biggest takeaway is that I need to remember to ask for everything in writing.” Many people, after agreeing to a negotiated outcome, forget to ask for a written version of the result. Prospective employees need to make sure that everything discussed in the negotiation process will be included in the papers to sign before starting the job.
Kaela Bell, a student majoring in business administration—marketing, added: “I learned that negotiation requires the proper language so that I may communicate my firmness without being overly aggressive. This workshop has done a great job of informing people of the disparity in pay between genders.”