Start Smart: Salary negotiation important



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Photo Courtesy of

Hannah Delzell

Graduation. The word can cause a state of panic for any student. Students on the verge of graduation might worry or have anxiety about the future. Between applying for jobs, paying bills, and everything in between students can get easily stressed out about money.

Start Smart is a salary negotiation tool for students to use and apply towards their life as they look into graduation and possible employment options. Recently, the University of Nebraska at Omaha held a Start Smart conference for students.

At the Conference, Peggy Jones, an associate professor in the Black Studies department at UNO, and UNO Director of Women’s and Gender Studies Karen Falconer Al-Hindi spoke at the conference. They informed students about knowing their worth and negotiating the salary they deserve.

According to Jones and Falconer Al-Hindi, there are four essential steps to salary negotiation. Step one is to know your value.

“Don’t be shy about reinforcing,” Jones said. “If you don’t tell people you did it, then you didn’t do it.”

Jones said it is especially hard for women in the work place because of the gender gap. Women of all races are earning 78 cents or less per dollar compared to men. Women also tend to negotiate less than men, and it results in women earning thousands of dollars less than men per year.

She added these are men and women who are equally qualified for the job, and have the same skill set yet women continue to make less per dollar. When women know their worth and how to negotiate more openly it will help to minimize the gender pay gap.

Falconer Al-Hindi said the second step is to identify a target salary and benefits package. You must take some time to find your budget, and from that budget make a target salary. This is the minimum acceptable salary you should accept.

From there you should have a bolstering range, which is a range of salaries with target salary at the bottom, Falconer Al-Hindi added.

Two convenient websites to help know your worth and what your salary range should be are and These websites will help to find objective research to back up bolstering range in a negotiation meeting about your potential salary after you have been offered a job position.

“The key is to use the data to justify your salary,” Falconer Al-Hindi said.

Jones said the third step is to know your strategy. This is the time to use that objective research and put it into a strategic and persuasive form for getting what you deserve as a salary. You must be positive and flexible. In a negotiation listen carefully and build on every exchange.

Jones said timing the negotiation can be tricky. Be sure to always keep notes, have a prioritized list and anticipate employer objectives.

Falconer Al-Hindi said the last step is to practice. With each practice you can improve your abilities to be objective, persuasive and strategic. The more you practice with others, the more help they can give you with constructive and positive feedback to improve verbal signals and body language.

UNO graduate student Molly Schieber attended the conference seeking guidance on the future and how to negotiate properly.

“I learned professional tips and now I think I’ve got some good resources that I can use in the future,” Schieber said.

The take away from the advice is graduation and starting a new career can be nerve-racking. With the right preparation and practice students can learn how to properly prepare themselves. Know your worth and be informed about the company before the interview and you will be set.