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How Much Money Will I Make?

How much money can I make with my academic major? What is the fair salary offer I could expect for positions of interest? If you are asking these questions, its time to know the facts and figures of your potential future salary.

Step 1: Research salary by position title

It’s important to know salary information before you apply for a position or attend an interview. This prepares you for questions like “What are your salary expectations?”. Knowing this information will also help you evaluate job offers.

Step 2: Research Cost of Living by location

Cost of living greatly impacts salary offers. This is why similar jobs can pay significantly different based on their location. It’s important to understand living costs and how that affects a fair salary offer.

Step 3: Determine your expected monthly costs

You may find it helpful to complete the post-graduation budget sheet (see the attachment on from the handshake resource page) so you can predict what salary you will need to cover your living costs. This helps you calculate how much take home pay you need to cover bills like rent, groceries, utilities, transportation and cell phone costs.

Step 4: Formulate a fair salary range for your situation

Using all the information you gather from research, determine a salary range of $2,000-$5,000. This number represents what you have determined to be a fair offer that also takes into account your experience level, education level and data on salaries. Build this into a pitch.

Example: I had the opportunity to do salary research for a Management Consultant position, and also took into account my strong GPA and related experiences at my internship and Consulting Club involvement. I determined a fair salary to be $65,000 which also factors in the high cost of living in New York City.

Example: Based on the salary research I completed for a graphic designer role in Philadelphia, and factoring in my recent internship and technical skills, I determined a salary range of $42,000-$45,000 a year to be a fair offer.

Although you should determine your desired salary range prior to an initial interview with an employer, you should avoid initiating a discussion of compensation during the interview process. However, if an employer broaches the subject of salary in your initial interview, be prepared to discuss your salary expectations and why you feel that number is fair.

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Mar 11, 2022

This is super helpful!


Adrian Suarez
Adrian Suarez
Feb 28, 2020


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