What am I Worth?, Episode #2: Recent Graduates

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You’ve just graduated from a premier university with your undergrad or MBA, and you’re primed and ready to join the workforce. Does a high-priced education translate into highly-paid position for a first job? The Sharp Decisions Magic 8-Ball says, ‘Outlook not so good.’

Recruiter: So, what are you looking for salary-wise?
Candidate: I just graduated from _______ University…
Recruiter: That sounds great. But what sort of salary are you looking for?
Candidate: Probably $60-$70,000.
Recruiter: Do you have any previous experience?
Candidate: I have my MBA.
Recruiter: I meant work.
Candidate: No.
Recruiter: Well, you may need to adjust your expectations a bit on the compensation.
Candidate: But I just graduated from _______ University!

We speak with many recent graduates looking to take the first step in their careers, and they face similar challenges to people that are looking to re-enter the job market. Since you’re likely not blessed with a deep job history to draw from, you’re not operating from a strong bargaining position. The economy is still struggling, and jobs are at a premium making it a buyer’s market.

Companies are inundated with resumes from the out-of-work and seeking-work, and tend (fairly or not) to skew towards candidates that are currently working. In our experience, where you graduate from does matter, and can help get you in the door of certain companies. However, when it comes to salary, most companies have an established organizational structure or pay scale in place, and whether you hold a degree from a $50,000 per year university or a $3000 per year community college, you’re still low on the totem pole when you arrive.

Coming from a renown school can certainly help make inroads for some opportunities, are there are some exceptions, but don’t expect to hit the lottery right after graduation.


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