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by Connie and Caroline | March 30, 2009


Posted By Caroline Ceniza-Levine


I recently coached a client who was trying to identify suitable target industries.  She also wanted to start at $50,000 (she is an undergraduate, class of 2009, in NYC).  When I pointed out that her target salary implied banking and consulting and not much else, she was taken aback and quickly lowered her target salary to $40,000.  I pointed out that even at $40,000 she ruled out media, advertising, PR, and many non-profits that start out in the $30’s, sometimes less.  She was again aghast. 


Frankly, I was aghast.  That she could lower her target by 20% so quickly suggested that she hadn’t really thought about her budget -- a 20% swing is a big deal.  That she wasn’t aware of typical base salaries in different industries suggested that she hadn’t researched the money while researching industries for her search. 


Money influences your search.  You don’t want to target a job only to find out that it doesn’t pay what you expected.  Here are money issues you need to work out in order to have a productive job search:


What is your budget?  You may have student loan payments to make.  You may want to live on your own.  You may target an expensive city like New York.  All of these considerations need to be factored into your search.  If you want to live in NY and your parents can’t subsidize you and you have $500 loan payments kicking in, add up your expected budget and figure out how you’re going to meet that.  You may decide to still pursue an industry whose typical starting salary doesn’t cover this, but then you know you need to supplement with bartending, retail, or some other source of income


What are your dream jobs paying at the entry-level?  Salaries for some low-paying industries can rise dramatically over time when you consider executive or management positions.  There are six-figure jobs in PR, advertising and non-profit.  If you can take a long-term view, don’t let the entry-level salary dissuade you from a genuine interest you have.  However, you should still be aware of what entry-level salaries are so, coupled with the budget question, you ensure that you take care of yourself in the short term.


How important is money in general to you?  Will you take your second choice company if it offers more money?  Do you need to have a performance bonus incentive or the promise of rapid salary growth?  Is money a key sign of status, something you hadn’t thought of until reading this column, or something in-between?  Every job comes with a salary, benefits and other money-related implications so you need to know how you feel about money in order to have a job search that reflects your priorities and values.


Ask the above questions now while you are planning your search, not when you have the pressure and urgency of an offer to consider.



Cha-Ching On-Campus / How Money Influences Your Search


Posted By Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio


On Wall Street, some things have changed dramatically and other things haven’t changed much at all.


Dramatic change:  the number of entry level full-time and summer hires made by top firms from campus recruiting efforts; Little change:  the entry level salary once you are hired.  From Caroline’s email above there seems to be some uncertainty as far as salaries go.  So why don’t we clear this up– starting at the high end and moving downward: 


$60,000 - $65,000:  Investment Banking, Global Markets, Asset Management, Consulting:  For those select candidates that find themselves the recipient of a full-time offer in these disciplines, good for you!  Up until last year, they were the “sexy” businesses and still lucrative if you can grab a coveted spot.  Bonuses will be down, but the salary remains the same.  These disciplines will look for a GPA is at a 3.8 or above, or you may not make the resume screen.


$60,000:  Technology:  There is still a supply and demand issue here and you are a more attractive candidate if you pair it with a business minor.


$55,000:  Wealth Management and Accounting majors will garner this salary, and if it’s accounting, your goal will most likely be to work for one of the Big 4:  1) Pricewaterhouse Coopers, 2) Deloitte & Touche, 3) Ernst & Young, and 4) KPMG. Remember that they don’t pay bonuses to entry level hires – smaller bonuses are paid to more senior managers, but if you work in financial services, a bonus could be yours. 


$50,000 - $55,000:  Engineers rule!  Obama recently mentioned the importance they will play in our economy going forward.  Chemical Engineers are at the high point, followed by Electrical and later Mechanical and then Civil.  Whatever the focus, Engineering is a great discipline.  In fact, I’ve heard that there are fewer than 200 Ocean Engineers in the U.S. so supply and demand applies here.


$45,000 - $50,000:  Marketing, Operations, Compliance, Human Resources.  These areas offer solid entry level positions into a company and with them come exposure.  For example, you could be an HR analyst, and face off against investment banking one year, followed by markets the next, and wealth management the next.  Spring boarding into another discipline could be your goal once you do well here.


$35,000 - $40,000:  Media, Public Relations, Advertising.  A liberal arts degree can land you into one of these disciplines and that is a good thing because if you are smart & learn from the bottom up, a good career can be hard.


A global Universum study found that graduating seniors ranked work/life balance as the #1 concern.  From the US to Europe, to PacRim there was only one exception:  Indian engineers who ranked it #2.  But Caroline makes a great point in her blog above …six-figure salaries appear in every profession, you just need to build your career the right way to ensure you get there. 


Filed Under: Job Search

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