How to Land a Job Offer that Pays

In many ways, searching for a job is a lot like searching for a home, or making your way through the college application process. Some of your prospects will be more affordable than others. Some will be pleasant in the moment, but offer little reward over the long term. Some will offer the promise of long term reward in exchange for an unpleasant short term experience. But very few of the open positions you find will offer everything you’d like—including a short commute, a high salary, a perfect path to advancement, and a fun working environment.In this entry, we’ll focus on just one aspect of the perfect job: salary. Here are a few moves that can help you land a job that will put a dent in your debts and allow you to stay on top of your expenses and save up for your next chapter.

1. Don’t compromise or cast a wide net.

If salary is what you want, be willing to let your other priorities go for now. Keep in mind that no position is permanent and if your career plans go slightly off track in your pursuit of the green, you can always bring them back online once your financial life is in order. In the meantime, don’t be lured away by positions that seem fun, or flexible, or even interesting. For the time being, stay single minded.

2. Stay diplomatic.

Recruiters will be more willing to help you find a position if you don’t appear to be solely focused on money. And employers will certainly treat the subject the same way. If your pupils have turned into dollar signs and you only want to talk about base pay and bonuses, that’s fine. You’re allowed to arrange your job search priorities however you choose. But recognize that employers and recruiters would rather hear you talk about your passion for the work, the skills you have to offer, and the contributions you bring to the table.

3. Don’t be desperate.

Don’t act desperate; that’s a no-brainer. But the best way to avoid acting desperate is to avoid BEING desperate. During the negotiation process, always be both able and willing to walk away. This will mean collecting as many offers and alternative options as possible, staying cool headed, and of course living frugally so you can draw the search process out as long as you need to.

4. Follow the money to the source.

If you want potential employers to pay you, limit your search to employers who can afford salaries in your range. Look for larger companies with stable footing, well-known brands, global reach, promising prospects, and experienced managers. Watch out for red flags that suggest weak management or fly-by-night business practices.

5. Do some homework before you say yes.

When you receive an offer that fits the bill, don’t say yes right away. Ask for at least 24 hours to think it over, and then spend some quality time with your calculator. Examine every expense and every benefit in order to determine your true annual (and monthly) take-home pay. How much are your yearly insurance benefits actually worth? How much will you pay for your daily commute? How long do you intend to keep this job and will you continue to search for something better once you step onboard? Answer these questions before you sign on the line.

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