Posted June 20, 2013 by

How to Get Paid Top Dollar at Your First Real Job

Alan Corey

By Alan Corey, author of “The Subversive Job Search”

Step 1: Demonstrate how you work when you aren’t getting paid.  Come prepared to an interview by bringing work you’ve already done for the company based on the job listing details and other online research you have found.  Having your potential new employer see that you can be self-motivated and willing to work before you get a paycheck can earn you big dividends come salary negotiation time.  If the inner workings of your job are unknown to you, an acceptable alternative would be bringing hypothetical projects/work assignments with you that you think this job could potentially have.  If your work is high quality on these made-up assignments, you not only stand-out against other job candidates, but once you start working your new starting salary will most likely be higher than expected.

Step 2: Offer to work for free the first two weeks. Another way to demonstrate your high-quality work without getting paid is to work for free at the beginning of any new business relationship. This provides a trial run for both you and the employer during what would be your first payroll cycle.  During this trial period, make sure they learn that the company needs you and that they can’t imagine doing business without you onboard. Doing so would be tremendously beneficial financially as you are can early a higher starting salary just two weeks in.  This is much better than busting your butt to earn an equivalent raise 12 months down the road during an annual review.   A former boss of my did this and went from being paid minimum wage to being the highest paid on his team in just 10 working days.

Step 3: Ask for perks, not money. It’s important to recognize you can get paid in ways that are not monetary. As you hammer out your contract details, remember you can negotiate vacation days, flex scheduling options, insurance benefits, and potentially other lucrative perks that help make you a better worker and to get rewarded for it.  A favorite of mine is asking for a 9-month review rather than a 12-month review.  No need to wait an extra 3 months to get a raise if you don’t need too.

By Alan Corey, author of “The Subversive Job Search”

About the author: Alan Corey is the well-recognized author of “The Subversive Job Search” and “A Million Bucks by 30”. Alan’s fun approach to job hunting, wealth building, and personal finance have made him a favorite author for readers looking for fresh and unique career and finance advice. You can learn more at

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