Hello Spartans. It is getting to that time where we start to see offer letters. Full time offers are going to come with far more compensation than our internship offers did. The question do how do you determine what your value is? When you receive your offer, the package that you receive is what the company projects the value that you will bring to the company. Every company has a different way of estimating what your potential value will be, but all companies will use some form of this thought process to determine what your compensation package will include.
I have been spending a lot of time over the last week tying to figure out how to negotiate, if I decide that it is appropriate. I thought it would be helpful to share my thoughts with negotiating right now with all of you. Hopefully, it will give you another perspective and help you as we move into negotiating season.
Most importantly, I have decided when I receive an offer I will be taking the compensation package out of consideration. Allowing the compensation package to influence how you view a company and a certain position will only skew your perspective. In order to make sure that the first position that you take is a good fit, you have to be excited about the work that comes along with the position and/or the company that you will be working for. This is one of the most important steps in setting up a negotiation. If you truly love the position and the company, it may not be as prudent that you negotiate for more compensation. There is really no harm in asking, but it is much lower stakes because you know that it will be the position that you accept.
Once you decide on your perception of the position that you are being offered, you need to be realistic about what your compensation expectations are. What financial goals/expectations did you have set for yourself post-graduation? This is probably the most difficult part of the process. With minimal professional experience, it is tough to form a baseline of what we should come to expect in a salary. Fortunately, The Center has resources to help you establish a rough idea. They have posted a post-graduation salary rate broken down by major. Keep in mind that these values will vary based on geographic location and industry, but it is at least helps guide you into an appropriate expectation range.
The last step of this process is adding in your past experiences. It is no secret that everyone wants to make more money. After you decide which if a position is appropriate for you and that more compensation would be an added benefit or is a necessity, you have to look at yourself. How do your experiences and skills warrant a higher wage? This is the question that you have to ask yourself. Obviously, it is far easier to negotiate when you have two offers and can use one offer against the other. However, not everyone will have the opportunity to do that, but everyone will be able to identify the ways that they bring value to a company and identify the experiences that set them apart from their counterparts. When you attempt to negotiate for more compensation, it is important that you know what experiences and skills differentiate you from other young engineers.
I hope this was at least a thoughtful thought experiment for everyone. Just remember that negotiating is not something that has to happen. If you receive an offer that you are satisfied with, there is nothing wrong with accepting the position as is. However, if you do wish to engage in a negotiation, make sure that you are prepared to show why you are worth that extra compensation. Stay Tuned and Keep Grinding Spartans!