job hunting sucks.

  1. i may have royally screwed myself over in terms of a job offer. :tdown:

    Backstory: I'm a new graduate with a degree in Human Resources and have been looking for my first real job since graduation. I don't have any experience in my field, but I do have a few years of customer service and great references. I currently work part time at a call centre making a decent wage but would not consider working full time here because it's not in my field of study, it's boring, and they offer no health benefits (tho the other perks here are great ;)).

    I've been sending out my resume for the last month or so, had a few interviews but no real prospects until this week. I finally got an offer for a HR assistant position at a small company. I like the company, office culture, good location, and the offer seemed decent but the main sticking point was the proposed salary. Barely above what I'm currently making, plus it's substantially lower than the national average for the type of position according to, other job sites and the booming job market in my city. (Of course, maybe there's some pride involved too in that because I have a university degree I feel I'm worth more as well.)

    So after reviewing the offer, I called back yesterday with a counteroffer. Understanding that I lack experience, and it's entry-level, etc, the number i gave was still lower than the national average but about $5,000 more than their original offer. The HR manager didn't seem very pleased with the conversation though, I got the feeling that I made myself look bad. Isn't counteroffering just a part of the whole recruitment process?

    I haven't heard anything since. I'm kicking myself now thinking that there's the real possibility that they may just decide to rescind the offer and I'm back to where I started.

    Did I do the right thing? Or should I have just sucked it up and taken the job using it as a opportunity to gain experience, learn, and then move on? I've only been job searching for a little while and don't want to sell myself short too early in the game, but at what point do I just take what's offered? I have this number in my head of where I want to be salary-wise, and then I have a minimum threshold number of what's too low. Maybe this type of thinking is bad. :confused1:

    I'd like to hear what your experiences have been with job hunting- especially for new graduates-, your first real job after university, and about this tough idea of negotiating a fair salary.
  2. ummm, sorry, no advice for now because im in the same boat as you are. i have a ton of experience and good references but all the calls i get arent for the job industry that im looking for.

    good luck and keep us posted!
  3. Well, with no HR experience, you should have taken the job and stayed a while to get the experience you need. Then with your NEXT job search, then you would have some negotiating power being that you have experience to back it up. Yeah, you probably wont get a call back. Just learn from it and move on.

    Case in point. My daughter who graduated with a Masters Degree in Radio and Television Communications (along with 2 minors) didnt search out a job in her major right away. A very well paying retail job at her fave store came her way and she took it. She wanted to get something decent on her resume. Well she was promoted and was Manager in no time and made excellent money and commission, not to mention the 50% discounts on clothes. She stayed a little over a year and then we moved to AZ.

    She applied for one job at a big huge Radio station in Phoenix and got called back 4 times for follow up interviews. She was finally offered the job at a very low salary compared to her retail job. She took it anyway. She knew she needed to learn everything. She has been there 6 months and has been promoted twice and now makes well over $75,000.00 and she LOVES her job.

    We all have to start at the bottom and work our way up. Hang in there!

  4. I graduated from one of the top schools for my field, have been out of school for three years, and currently make $10k less than the national average. It's not uncommon these days!

    When I first started with my company I was so underpaid that I considered the job to be just "experience for my resume" and was using it as an interim position while I hunted for a better job. Well, two 10%+ pay raises and a promotion later and now I'm pretty happy with my job, even if I'm still underpaid. I know that there will be more raises as I prove myself further.

    Send your contact at the company a handwritten thank you note, and look elsewhere.
  5. I think the national averages are bogus unless you're from Harvard and move to NYC. I live in Nashville and just graduated (#2 in my class) and was offered about $10k less than the national average for my degree. I decided to go back to school and work part-time at a place for only $9 an hour (and I have a degree that says I'm worth $45,000). The key seems to be getting your foot into the door.
    Yeah, I'm working $9 an hour (less than 50% of what i'm worth) BUT when my MBA is complete I have my foot in the door (hire from within!) and I have endless advancement opportunity.

    The real world is a big shock because you're always told "go to college and you'll make $____" but it takes many years and many contacts before you see it IMO.
  6. IMO, entry level jobs are generally not negotiable in terms of salary. In the eyes of the company, you don't have a lot to offer since it's the first job in your field ... regardless of your relevant experience.

    I wouldn't give up yet, though. I'd follow up with their HR person, kiss up as much as possible, tell her how much you want the job, what a great experience it would be, etc. You might be able to salvage the opportunity. Don't turn away a great opportunity because the salary isn't great -- you need to prove that you are worth the great salary before it's given to you.

    Good luck!
  7. Let me just clarify, I live in a major city in Canada (in the richest province) so the numbers I was referring to really aren't that far off from what the average people in my city would be making also. Cost of living is pretty high plus classmates and friends are making some real $$ with their first jobs.

    That being said, yes, I probably did make a mistake in how I dealt with the situation. But if there's any goodwill left with the HR manager, I will try to salvage the original offer or move on.
  8. You're fresh out of college, with no experience. You're probably not going to get a job with a fantastic salary, and you won't be making as much as those in your field who have been working for longer than you have.

    You have to start off somewhere. And just think, if you take this job (with the salary that comes with it), you don't have to stay there forever. Stay for maybe a year or so and start looking for some new jobs, that way you will at least have something field-related to put on your resume!
  9. It also depends on how 'in demand' your particular career is.

    Nurses, etc. who are in high demand have alot more flexibility with salary requirements.
  10. I'm in a very similar situation as you are. I am also a recent graduate, and have had trouble finding a job I really like. With that being said, I feel like the best thing to do is just suck it ip and take a job I don't really love just so I can get more experience.
    I think it can be hard when you're just out of college (especially the first year), because you think 'Great I'm a college grad, the opportunities are endles', but really they're not.
    Don't get discouraged and keep looking! Good luck and keep us posted!
  11. If the offer still stands, I think that you should take the job, and continue job hunting until you find something you really like with a salary to match. I was in your same position about a year ago: I'd just graduated, and I was offered a job with a not-so-great starting salary, but it was in my field. I decided to take the job without negotiating, because I didn't have any real world experience, and I figured with th job market today, if I didn't take it, they would find someone else that would. With all of that said, I think you should take the job for experience, even with the lousy salary, and continue to look for something else. You're much more likely to get that higher paying job with experience on your resume than just your degree without experience. Anywho, thats my advice. Let us know how it turns out, and good luck! :tup:
  12. I don't think you did the wrong thing at all.

    I think often as women, we're reluctant to negotiate for our salaries -- plus, when we're young women, we especially devalue ourselves.

    If you graduated from a good school, know you are presentable, intelligent, and are a hard worker, then you should definitely ask for what you believe you deserve as long as it's within reason. And BELOW national average definitely sounds reasonable to me.

    I wish you the best of luck in your search. Follow up with this company, but if it doesn't work out, then so be it. I don't think you really want to work for a company that pays so significantly below national averages -- do they have a huge bonus or something to make up for it? You can't attract quality people if you aren't willing to pay.

    Again, best of luck!
  13. I dont think there is anything wrong with negotiating salary IF you have experience in the field to back it up. As pp mentioned probably would have been best to take the position, get the experience, move up if you can etc... You know the HR rep. was put off by the request, so they probably wont call back & that's ok. Just keep an open mind & be willing to accept an entry level position/wage. Goodluck!
  14. I think it's great that you made a counter offer. Certainly this is considered acceptable in my field of work. As they say it never hurts to ask. It could take you a while to increase your salary $5,000 once you start working -- better to negotiate up front. The company can always say no if they can't afford it or if its more than other people are getting paid. National averages are pretty meaningless. Most companies just want to be sure the new person gets paid less than someone who has been there a few years which I think is fair.
  15. Countering with a 10-15% increase should definitely be fine. Don't feel bad. Remember, any raise or bonus you get will be a percentage of your base salary, so negotiating a good one is key.