Negotiation 101

As a freshly minted IT graduate, you’re in the know, at least academically. You’ve been schooled in all the newest techniques, played with all the hottest technology and researched all the latest trends in the business. But chances are you’re not quite as savvy when it comes to one of the older tricks in the book: the skill of negotiating.

When you enter the workforce, the reality of having and maintaining a job sets in: You’ll acquire a salary, benefits and, someday, pay raises. Yet no degree can prepare you for the task of ascertaining and defending your own worth.

Liz Benuscak, director of business development at Strategy Leaders Inc., a consultancy based in New York, said the most important thing for new grads is — ironically — to do their homework.

“It’s a matter of coming into a position from a place of empowerment rather than disempowerment,” she said. “If you give somebody hard, fast numbers, it makes a huge difference.”

That said, relevant market data is difficult to come by when negotiating your first salary out of school. You have very little to go on apart from your just printed diploma. Benuscak recommended new grads ask themselves, “What do you bring to the table that’s different from somebody else?” One potential answer may be internships, community service and other projects.

Drawing from these previous experiences, job candidates should think about challenges they faced, actions they took and results they achieved — a sequence…


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