By Marianne Brigola, Com Career Advisor
I remember when I got my first job offer after graduate school. I was days away from graduation, targeting a specific geographic location and stressed out about graduating without a job. When I got the call with the offer, they essentially said: “We’d like to hire you as a _____ and pay you $_____. What do you think?” I was so thrilled that someone was offering me a job that the first thing out of my mouth was, “Of course I’ll take it!”
Yikes. Looking back now, I know I should have played it a bit cooler and taken the time to think about the position before accepting the offer. While the job was ideal, and definitely one I knew I wanted–I probably could have done more research to make sure my salary was comparable for the position (spoiler: it was not).
It’s so exciting to get that job offer, but talking salary can be awkward. You don’t want to ask for too much but you want to be compensated fairly. As the I-Media students are wrapping up their program and going on interviews, here are a few things to consider as you evaluate job offers:
Your job offer is a package. In addition to your annual salary, you want to make sure you consider other things that are included in your compensation: health benefits, vacation, flex-time, educational benefits, etc. The number on your paycheck isn’t the only thing you’ll be receiving from your employer.
Do your research. You need to reflect on whether your salary offer is fair taking into consideration the job itself as well as the cost of living for where it’s located. Your money will go much further in some cities rather than others. PayScale, CNN Money and NerdWallet all have cost of living calculators that can help you compare different cities. Some also provide info about housing costs, groceries, etc.
Having a general sense of the typical salary for someone with the same position. This is a bit trickier–some titles in different companies and industries may be the called the same thing but have completely different responsibilities, seniority levels, etc. Glassdoor, PayScale, Salary.com are all great resources that you can use to start researching salary information. Some collect data from employers, others are anonymously self-reported. Some other resources for salaries within the digital and interactive industries are available here, as an infographic. The Creative Group is a staffing agency specifically for interactive, design and creative talent. They recently posted their 2014 Salary Guide, as well as a salary calculator
Know Your Worth. Be sure you understand what you’re bringing to the table in terms of knowledge and skills, and how you’ll be contributing to the organization. Do you have special experiences or skills beyond what they’re looking for that will be vital to the employer?
Salary is always a tricky topic to bring up during the job search process–but it’s so important to make sure you’re starting off with a fair salary since it serves as the jumping point for any future raises or even your future jobs. Being prepared and doing your homework will help make that conversation easier when you’re having that conversation with your future boss.