When searching for a job, experienced professionals try to make a point by providing potential employers with a resume that’s filled with hands-on skills, past accomplishments, and industry approval. However, as a young professional who’s just entering the workforce, you may not have that kind of experience or exposure. In this case, it will take more effort to earn what you’re truly worth.
Assessing Your Level of Experience
You’ll never receive what you’re worth if an employer is unable to see your potential. This gets even more problematic when job seekers are unable to see the potential in themselves. Therefore, the first step to entering the workforce as a young professional is to determine your value as an employee of the company.
Take some time to think about all of your career experiences thus far, including any part-time or full-time jobs, temporary assignments, project works and even volunteerism. Apart from looking good on an entry-level resume, these types of experience can be compared to professional positions of the same capacity when trying to determine your initial salary expectations. In many cases, volunteerism & social or community services can even serve as a stepping stone or point-of-entry to your future career path.
Selling Your Experience and Transferable Knowledge
Because you won’t have many skills, achievements or statistics speaking for yourself, you’ll have to rely on whatever experience you have thus far. Even if this experience has no direct relation to the type of work you’re seeking, it’s important to show what you’ve learned, any additional training you’ve received and any transferable knowledge you may have. Using this knowledge, a hiring manager or interviewer will be able to make a much better decision regarding your potential for success with their company.
You might even consider creating a functional resume in order to draw attention away from your zero to little experience. A typical resume lists an applicant’s career history in chronological order, starting with their latest position. But the functional resume replaces the initial chronological listing in exchange for details about your skills, academics and part-time or volunteer experience. This lets an employer know exactly what you have to offer without getting distracted by your career timeline.
Determining Your Salary Expectations
When searching for a job, it’s crucial that you maintain realistic expectations regarding your initial salary requirements. This is especially true for recent graduates and young professionals who are just now entering the workforce for the very first time. In some cases, you’ll have no other option but to prove your worth through hard work, dedication, and diligence.
In fact, many research surveys conclude that employers offer starting or entry-level salaries in the range of 20-40% lower than the expectations of recent graduates. As you can see, there is some discrepancy between a young professional’s self-perceived value and their real-world value. However, there are other ways that can help you gain a better understanding of salary trends and expectations within your industry of expertise. Simply researching job postings that are related to your desired position can give you some insight into the going rates for your profession.
Regardless of the methods you use, keep in mind that these figures are meant as a rough starting point, not a hard and fast rule.
Ensuring Success During Salary Negotiations
Now that you have a strong understanding of your experience level, transferable knowledge, and expected salary, it’s time to enter salary negotiations. Although some may be less concerned with their pay and more concerned with landing a job at all, today’s millennial generation isn’t so easily satisfied. To put it otherwise, many young professionals already know what they want and they’re determined to make it happen.
As long as you’ve done your homework correctly, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for the salary you believe you deserve. Your salary expectations should already be realistic and in alignment with the current trends and standards for the industry of your choice. Most reputable employers should be able to meet your expectations or, at the very least, respond with a reasonable counteroffer.
Whether you accept their offer or not is ultimately your decision — just try to avoid employers who refuse to offer a competitive salary. Employers like this tend to have high employee turnover rates, little to no benefits and very few opportunities for career progression or advancement.
Demonstrating Value and Improving Your Worth
It can be difficult for a young professional to get into an established & reputable company. However, as long as you have a clear understanding of your current worth, realistic salary expectations and the desire to improve yourself by leading a successful career, you shouldn’t have much trouble demonstrating the value you can offer within your chosen industry.