If you were offered $2 million right now, no strings attached, would you take it? Of course, you would! But did you know that you may have already inadvertently said no thank you to this offer? Author Linda Babcock writes about salary negotiation in her book Women Don’t Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation—and Positive Strategies for Change. She states that when an employee fails to negotiate salary early in her career, it could add up to as much as $2 million in lost wages over the course of a lifetime.
The good news: You have more bargaining power than you think. According to a recent survey by NerdWallet and Looksharp, 84 percent of responsive companies said that negotiating salary wasn’t a deal breaker, even for entry-level candidates. And yet, out of almost 8,000 college graduates surveyed, only 38 percent actually ventured to do some healthy back-and-forth before signing their name in ink. The main question boils down to the negotiation sweet spot—what’s reasonable to ask for, and makes you sound (dare we say it) entitled? To help you get the best offer possible, here’s what you can—and should—ask for before you officially take that first job.