Six Tips to Help Millennials Negotiate a Fair Starting Salary


Louisville, KY—August 16, 2016—Not negotiating a fair salary at the beginning of your career is like leaving anywhere between $1 million and $1.5 million on the table in lost earnings over a lifetime, according to Professor Linda Babcock, a Professor of Economics and Co-Founder of Carnegie Mellon’s Negotiation Academy for Women. “The reason not negotiating a fair salary at the beginning of your career is so costly is because even a small bump in pay translates into bigger annual raises and possibly bigger bonuses as well, year after year,” said Carla Dearing, CEO of SUM180, an online financial planning service designed to be simple and affordable.

“Even with so much at stake, Millennials just entering the work force may find salary negotiations awkward and intimidating. Being prepared goes a long way toward feeling more relaxed and confident during salary negotiations,” Carla continued.

Following are Carla’s six tips to help Millennials be successful in negotiating a fair salary:

  1. Ask yourself the question first. The fact is, most people have no idea what a fair salary is for them. So the first step is to ask yourself: What would be a fair salary for me? Get comfortable with the question. It’s important and deserves to be addressed.
  2. Deflect the salary requirement question. You may be asked for your salary requirements on a job application form or during an early interview. If possible, simply answer ‘N/A’ on the form. Or, if you are asked the question in person, respond with something like, ‘I’m sure we can find a number that will be fair, but first I want to see whether this job is a fit on both sides.’ You will be in a better negotiating position after the hiring manager has decided that you are a strong fit for the job.
  3. Get the data. Don’t rely on assumptions or hearsay. To be in a strong position to negotiate a fair salary, it helps to have current data: What is someone in a comparable role, in the same industry, being paid today? Accurate information will bolster your confidence as the negotiations warm up. If you use free salary data sites, like, and, be aware that these sites typically rely on self-reported data, which may not be as accurate and, as such, less useful.
  4. Informational interviews are your friend. Interview a lot. One of the best things you can do to prepare for a salary negotiation is to interview as much as possible, even for jobs you don’t think you particularly want. In fact, with less at stake, you will probably feel more comfortable asking hiring managers (for example) what the market is like in that city for someone with your particular skills and experience. Take the opportunity to learn as much as you can during these interviews. Use all the feedback you get to form a clearer picture of the industries and career paths that interest you—and require your skills and talents. All this interviewing will enable you to come to each succeeding interview more prepared: knowledgeable, relaxed and armed with real information.
  5. Strategize with a coach. Once you have the salary information you need, it’s time to plan for the actual salary discussion. Consider asking a professional salary coach for help. A good coach is able to assess your situation and recommend specific tactics to use in your negotiation. You may also want to find a mentor—someone experienced and knowledgeable in your field—to help you prepare.
  6. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Negotiating a fair compensation package is about more than just salary. Some new hires negotiate for other valuable benefits such as additional vacation time, flexible hours, a fully loaded new work laptop or even unusual perks, such as monthly dinners with the company CEO. Another way to be creative with your salary negotiation is to take a long term approach to getting the compensation package you want. Work out a long-term plan with your future boss to earn a raise in the future. The more specific the plan, the better. Specify deliverables and a time frame for each. Once you meet the agreed-upon goals, your boss will find it very difficult to refuse you the raise you’ve demonstrated you deserve.

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About SUM180
SUM180 is an online financial planning service designed to make financial planning simple and affordable, providing a radical alternative to current financial advisory offerings.

Specifically, SUM180 is differentiated in the following ways:

  • SUM180 meets individuals where they are. SUM180 plans are personalized to help individuals wherever they are right now on their financial journey; whether they’re just beginning, starting over or well on their way.
  • SUM180 plans are simple. Clients need only focus on just three of their most important next steps at any given time. This approach is empowering for most, but especially for those who have been “tuned out” of their financial picture for a period of time.
  • SUM180 doesn’t try to give clients a degree in finance. SUM180 clients don’t need to become financial experts to meet their financial goals. SUM180 provides the tools they need, without overwhelming them with the details they don’t need.
  • SUM180 offers a community for users, unfiltered. SUM180’s community forum allows users to support one another in their plans.
  • SUM180 serves; never sells. Earning and keeping client trust is SUM180’s highest priority. SUM180 never makes money based on the advice provided.

Additional information about SUM180 may be found at

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Robin Schoen
Robin Schoen Public Relations
215.504.2122 office
215.595.7542 mobile