You've heard that you should always negotiate before accepting a job offer, but asking for more can be tricky for young talent. While you want to be paid what you're worth, you also don't want to come off as ungrateful or in it for the wrong reason. Here's a quick how-to on pushing for what you want, while still remaining realistic.
Understand the average
Starting salaries are different at every agency, but you should know roughly what the average range is for your role, so you're coming to the table with reasonable expectations. Do some digging on Fishbowl (there's a specific Bowl about Salaries), Glassdoor, this VCU Brandcenter Alumni Salary Survey, or this Female Pay Transparency spreadsheet, to get an idea of what others with the same/similar titles make.
Make your case using rationale and proof
Simply saying you want a higher number than your original offer isn't enough—you have to give the company reasons why you’re asking for it. List out your monthly living expenses—especially if you have a family or elderly parent you support—to show why you need more money to feel good about taking the job. Additionally, give them tangible reasons why you’re worth more money. Whether it's the number of awards you've received, how many real clients you've worked with, or the results from past work you’ve done as an intern, quantifiable proof points will help you make the case that you're worth more.
Build an opportunity for a raise into your offer letter
The company will generally feel more comfortable giving you more money if they've had a chance to see you in action. See whether they'll commit to a performance review with the opportunity for a raise 3-6 months after you start, and have it included in your offer letter. It's not guaranteed you'll get the raise, but you won't have to wait for your one-year review to potentially earn more.
Look at the entire offer
What you get out of your first job is so much more than money, so don't just fixate on the salary number. Ask about the benefits—healthcare, 401k matching, relocation reimbursement, paid time off, sick days, parental leave policy, learning and development opportunities. Think about the chance to work on certain brands, alongside potential mentors. When you're at the beginning of your career, you have plenty of time to earn money—think about what is really most valuable to you right now, so you're able to see the entirety of the company's offer.
You got this,