Stump the Intern--Reader Questions

by SixFigureStart | June 16, 2009

  • My Vault

Q: I graduated in May and have gone on two interviews so far, neither of which have led to anything. What makes me really nervous is when they ask you for your salary expectations. On the one hand, I don't want to aim too high because they may scoff. By the same token, if I aim too low, I'm offering them bait to hire me for cheap. One interview was at a well-known entertainment TV channel and the other was at a small production company; both were for the position of Assistant Production Coordinator. What would be an appropriate number to give? Is there a range? Please help!

Sweaty palms make for slimy handshakes,
LP

A: LP, you don't say where you live, but I am going to assume that if you were interviewing with a "well-known entertainment TV channel," you reside in a major metropolitan area. Salaries in these cities tend to be slightly higher, but of course don't go very far towards rent, food, and the inevitable lure of going out.

As an intern, I don't have too much experience with salary requests and negotation. Fortunately, Vault has a bevy of salary surveys from hundreds of companies, including many in Media. I'd suggest checking out what other people were getting paid and then going from there. I do recognize that some of these surveys are "pre-recession," and therefore I recommend figuring out what you need to live in and then some, and also giving a range when asked, i.e. "$32,000-$38,000." (This is a possible salary for a PA). Finally, you should be proud of yourself for getting two interviews within a month of graduating and during a recession!

--Posted by Sophie Friedman, Vault Web Content Intern

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