Don’t be afraid to negotiate

If you are like most recent graduates or job seekers, you’re thrilled to get a job offer. So thrilled you barely read through the details before becoming giddy. Then you get to the salary and it’s a little lower than you’d hoped and the benefits could be better.

Don’t fret, you are expected to negotiate. “Even in tough times, most companies expect you to negotiate,” according to The Galima Group, a partner of The Berkeley Center for Executive Development at UC Berkeley. Not to mention, when you respectfully negotiate, you demonstrate the business skills the company want you to employ on the job, this article from Forbes states.

As noted in The Galima Group post, look for subtle hints that the hiring manager is open to negotiation. “For example, many managers may say, ‘why don’t you look over the offer and call me if you have any questions’.”

An offer typically includes more than just the paycheck. Including:

  • Signing bonus
  • Vacation, sick days, personal days
  • Maternity / family leave
  • Flex-time or ability to telecommute
  • Professional training (continuing education, conference attendance, etc.)
  • Job sharing
  • Start date
  • Stock options
  • Performance bonuses
  • Accelerated review time with potential salary increase
  • Job duties
  • Company car
  • Company credit card
  • Expense accounts

You’ll want to first ask yourself what are the top three or five things to you. It’s ok if money is at the top or on the list!

“As long as you act respectfully, you have nothing to lose by asking what the company can do to bring you closer to your desired salary,” according to this Career Builder article.

GPA importance

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I overhead a very disturbing conversation on campus on my way to lunch yesterday.

Boy A: GPA is overrated.
Boy B: How so?
Boy A: It’s not important unless you plan to go into grad school or academia.

They then turned into an academic building, I hope to attend class. My concern about the conversation isn’t so much that the students are incorrect, it’s that in the super competitive post-graduation job market, wouldn’t you want every advantage possible?

GPA matters in school, especially college. Too low and you could lose a scholarship  or possibly won’t get into the school  (journalism, education, business, etc.) you want. Even lower and you could be put on academic probation, or worse asked to leave.

Your GPA matters less in your professional life, but still has an impact. In 2005, according to a survey of the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported on Career Builder, 70 percent of hiring managers do report screening applicants based on their GPA, but the largest group say they use a 3.0 as their cutoff.

So, yes, in theory, your GPA doesn’t matter to some employers (a small 30 percent), but do you really want to gamble your job future on that? All other things being equal, an employer might pick the student with a higher GPA.

If you’re a recent or soon-to-be graduate, are you getting questions about your GPA? Professionals, how did you handle GPA questions, if at all?