In the Business Insider video, “A financial planner explains why starting a new job is the best time to negotiate salary,” a financial planner discussed how not negotiating her salary before accepting her first job really cost her. She had no idea that she even could negotiate. And the fact that she didn’t negotiate the salary on her first job set her up to earn less than she otherwise might have for years afterwards.
This planner started her career not long before a recession and became aware that she could negotiate as she grew into her profession. However, she was unable to reap the rewards of this knowledge when she started a different job because the economic downturn meant that companies just weren’t offering the kinds of salaries and benefits they had in the past. Had she begun her first job with a higher salary, she might have been able to use that as a jumping off point when interviewing for new jobs.
In the story mentioned above, not negotiating before accepting her first job offer set a financial planner on a path to earn less for a while but that doesn’t mean you should not try to negotiate even after your first job. The idea is that you should try to ask for what will benefit you before you start working. When an employer has chosen you and the relationship is new is when you want to ask for more. This is not to say that you cannot approach your employer later during your tenure with them but to say that it is easier in the very beginning. The employer is interested in your skill set and they believe in your potential. After you have worked for your employer for a while, they may still value you but you have to provide more evidence of what you have done for them in order to earn a higher salary or more benefits.
Negotiating before accepting a job is just one instance where you can leverage what you have to your advantage. The Muse offers tips on negotiation to help you get started.