What to Do When Asked for Your Salary Range

How should you answer the question, “What’s your salary range?”

It’s always best not to give them a number. They’ll try to low ball you. But if this is your first “real” job out of college and you only have a few related internships under your belt, there’s not much you can negotiate. One way to find out how much to ask for is to ask who the position reports to. The higher the title, the more salary you should ask for. In general, though, entry-level candidates aren’t asked for salary requirements.

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You can say that it’s more about the right opportunity than money for you, and that you’re willing to negotiate a mutually beneficial compensation package. A job is much more than a pay check. It’s paid time off, medical, dental, vision, 401K, and more. Try to get a salary range from the employer first. Then ask about the benefits package and ask them to send you an outline of what they offer. Take a day to review it (even if you have no intentions of using their medical benefits, etc.) and say that their benefits plan is not very “attractive” to you or medical is too expensive. Then tell them the range you’re looking for after doing research on a site like Glassdoor.

Most entry level jobs start between $30 and $40K in the creative fields.  If you have a solid portfolio then you can negotiate more. Most companies in this economy will try to offer you at least $10K less than whatever you ask for. You need to evaluate how good an opportunity this is, how big the company is, are they well recognized in the industry, and how good their benefits package is.

Look at the whole picture as opposed to just the money. If the overall benefits of the experience seem to balance out the low pay, maybe it’s worth it to take it.

How do you navigate this question about your salary? Share your negotiation strategies in the comments!

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