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Know Thy Worth

How to negotiate the right starting salary as a graduating student-athlete

Your resume outlines your experience. You aced the interview. But when that job offer comes through, how do you maximize your earning potential when you’re just starting out? Allison Waymyers, director of the Fifth Quarter, Clemson University football’s career and professional development program, offers these suggestions for new grads — but reminds them they can’t put a price on loving the job. “Know your worth,” she says. “Your passion and potential are just as important as your degree.”

Research, research, research

Understand the job opening — and what such employees should reasonably expect to be paid. Online searches can yield untrustworthy results; reach out to campus and athletics department resources that can connect you with answers. And there’s no replacement for conversation with others already working in your future industry.

Don’t be afraid to ask

Many job seekers — particularly newcomers — are shy about bringing up money. But look at it this way, Waymyers says: If your expectations don’t match the employer’s, you both waste your time in interviews. Demonstrate you’ve done your research and inquire about company values. But if the salary range wasn’t listed with the job announcement, ask about that, too.

Salary isn’t the only measurement

When the employer can’t budge on salary, think beyond numbers. Does the company offer flex time and the ability to work from home? Can you qualify for an evaluation (and subsequent raise) in six months instead of waiting a year? Are professional development opportunities and top-notch benefits part of the package? A salary is one piece of a full package of compensation.

About Champion

Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.

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