Jenny Che of The Huffington Post has written an article exploring how new college graduates can earn more on their first job. Che’s advice can be summed up in one word: Negotiate. According to an expert cited by Che, many companies are willing to increase salaries for new college graduates by as much as 5-10% over the initial offer. If the employer won’t offer more money, it’s possible to negotiate some other aspect of compensation: employer share of health care, education reimbursement, or related benefits. What’s the secret to getting more on your first job? Know you worth, and ask the employer to give a little more.
Last week I ran into a client who had just obtained his LCSW designation (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), which will make it easier for him to get a job. When I congratulated him, my client seemed more depressed than excited. I asked him what was wrong. He told me that he was hesitant to apply for new job because he didn’t have experience.
How can anyone have experience when he or she is starting a new career? It’s impossible. We learn by doing, by failing, and by becoming confident that we can do the job. When I started teaching in my mid-20s, I was almost sick standing in front of a class. That feeling lasted for a few weeks. Then I realized that I could do the job and felt confident. However, we can’t achieve that feeling until we face the frightening and awkward first step into something new. Similarly, when I started writing resumes 10 years ago, I followed the models of other writers. It probably took a year before I felt like the work was mine, not a copy of another writer’s style. Experience takes time.
I told my client that he’s ready, but he doesn’t believe it. He won’t believe it until he convinces himself by taking the leap. That’s how it always starts, overcoming fear and growing confident. Experience will come over months and years. The first step is, well, the first frightening step. It’s hard, but there’s no other way to become a professional.