You might have held some part-time jobs while you were still in college, but most people don’t get their first “real” jobs until after graduation. You’ve bought some work clothes, polished your resume and you have dreams of a six-figure salary. The reality, however, is that even though you’ve completed college, you are still considered an entry-level professional. With all of those student loans to pay off, though, here are five tips for earning more money after graduation.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate Salary & Benefits
Employers these days are focusing most of their energy on retention. It costs much more to train new employees every six months than to offer more money to employees who plan to stay a while, so if you think you’ve found your dream job, don’t be afraid to negotiate salary and benefits. As a degreed professional, you already have an opportunity to make more money after graduation, but you can increase those chances through negotiation. Let prospective employers know that you’re looking for a long-term career that can meet your goals.
Avoid Accepting the First Offer on the Table
The early bird might get the worm, but if you accept an employment offer too readily, you might be cheating yourself out of a higher salary. Employers are looking for graduates with confidence and expertise. If you accept a job that’s offering you $5,000 less than what you’re actually worth, you can kiss advancement goodbye, which means that you won’t be earning more money after graduation. It’s much better to thank the employer for his or her offer and to request forty-eight hours before making your decision.
Consider More Than Just Salary
Contrary to popular belief, how much you make is not limited to salary. How much paid vacation time are you offered? When do your benefits kick in? Are you eligible for company perks like cars, airfare, an expense account or advancement? Things like that can lead to a fulfilling career valued at more than just a yearly salary. When you’re considering your job prospects after vacation, make sure that the benefits are clearly spelled out before you accept the job.
Start By Setting Performance Goals
According to BankRate.com, employers are moving toward pay-for-performance in 2007, which is something you need to consider. Our society demands productive employees, which should be a goal if you want to earn more after graduation. Focus on performance goals that will put you ahead of your colleagues, which will in turn put you in the running for better money. While your annual salary might increase by only 3% every year, other incentives such as bonuses will continue to increase, making your job all the more valuable.
Always Work Hard to Communicate
An ambitious employee will always make more money after graduation than one who is comfortable in an entry-level position. Keep the lines of communication open and constantly inquire about ways to improve your position. Ask exactly what performance is required to get a raise each quarter, and strive to meet those levels of achievement. Continue to go above and beyond the call of duty, and you’ll make far more money.
Making more money after graduation may not be a priority in your life, but if you’re struggling to pay off student loans and will need to provide for yourself immediately, follow the above tips. And one last piece of advice: Don’t take the first job you’re offered. Interview for several positions and carefully consider every dimension of each. That’s the only real way to improve your income potential straight out of college.