Salary negotiation for remote jobs: What you need to know

Employers are expanding their talent and hiring pools by recruiting remote workers, while many employees are taking the opportunities to move to new locations for lifestyle, cost of living, and family considerations.

By Michele Rapp


The rise of remote work creates new challenges for employers regarding their approaches on how to set salaries for employees in locations with different costs of living, while remaining competitive in attracting top talent. Candidates need to understand these methods so they can negotiate the best offers.

Different approaches

There are three common ways that companies set pay ranges according to Brie Reynolds, AS’04, a FlexJobs employee for 12 years.

  • One method is based on the salaries and cost of living of the company’s main office, regardless of where the remote employee is located.
  • The second way is adjusting salaries to reflect the cost of living of the worker’s location, with the goal of offering competitive salaries and benefits for that location and employment market.
  • A third approach is to set salaries for job roles based on general market trends, regardless of location.

Ultimately, employers in competitive industries, who want to attract top tier talent, need to offer salaries that are as good or better than both local companies and other remote organizations.

Research salary ranges

So how should remote candidates approach salary negotiations? By using salary research sites such as PayScale and Salary.com, research the salary ranges for each job title using:

  1. The company’s main office or branch locations (this advice is based on US employers, so be aware that global companies may have additional considerations for fairness and how they determine pay).
  2. Your home location (note that for employees in competitive fields, national markets will probably move closer to higher paying cities, as long as demand for employees continues to exceed supply).
  3. No location, so that you get a national average.

Now you have three approximate salary ranges for each potential remote job, so you will be prepared regardless of which method a particular employer uses. When evaluating an offer take into account the total benefits and compensation package along with opportunities for advancement. Lastly, make sure to assess your value in the current market as employers are likely to pay more for special skills, accomplishments and experience.



Michele Rapp, Associate Director of Alumni Career Strategy creates diverse professional development programs and networking events for alumni. She oversees the NUsource networking platform and guides alumni from diverse sectors and career stages to:

June 6, 2022

Staying motivated in your job search

Have you felt a loss of motivation and mojo in your job search recently? We have some tips!

By Michele Rapp

Job searches require persistence and resilience as they can be a mix of success, and uncertainty. The process is similar to training for a 5k race or gardening as it takes sustained commitment and effort, or the patient work of planting seedlings and waiting for them to bear fruit.

Change it up
Start by trying some new approaches. Get out of the house to do your work and try a co-working space, library or your favorite coffee shop instead. Get energized by starting the day with exercise, a class at the gym, a networking call or a lunch meeting. Spend less time online and more time interacting with people, especially to get feedback and fresh ideas.

Set goals and create structure

Experiment with setting weekly or monthly goals and find a method that works for you. Set weekly goals for networking, research and job applications combined with tracking your progress. Try to build in some rewards to look forward to. Having a system that works for you is the best form of motivation!

If you’re working fulltime, you can set goals and/or identify weekly times for your search. Emphasize quality activities over quantity: one informational interview with an innovative company can be more valuable than sending out lots of online applications.

Keep growing your list of target employers while prioritizing your time and efforts; spending about 80% of your time on networking is recommended.

Refresh and recharge

Practice self-care. Whether that means exercise or taking time in nature, find your version of self-care and utilize it. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to take a break from your job search.

Learn and lead

Find classes to learn new skills and grow your network. Look into adult education programs, community colleges, professional association workshops, an online learning, such as LinkedIn Learning. Engage in volunteer or leadership activities to further skills, build relationships and see the positive impact of your efforts. Investigate these opportunities through community organizations, professional groups, Idealist and VolunteerMatch. Developing a side hustle can also boost your energy, skills and income.


Michele Rapp, Associate Director of Alumni Career Strategy creates diverse professional development programs and networking events for alumni. She oversees the NUsource networking platform and guides alumni from diverse sectors and career stages to:

  • Clarify their direction
  • Develop an effective job search
  • Network
  • Advance their careers

June 6, 2022


Get support

Don’t go at it alone! Seek feedback, encouragement, accountability and fresh ideas from others, whether it’s a career coach, mentor, or job seeker’s group. Many professional associations offer opportunities to be matched with a mentor. And you can connect with fellow alumni on NUsource and LinkedIn for career insights, advice and more.


Study Diaries

A day in the life of a media entrepreneur

By Ilana Gensler, MA’19

As the clock strikes 5:30 am, Adebukola Ajao’s, MPS’20 alarm clock sounds initiating a stretch session and shower. By 6:45, she’s buckled up and on the road to her day job as a high school educator. Between the hours of 7:30 to 3:30 pm, Ajao helps students with their socio-emotional needs and postgrad life preparation. Curling up for a nap, Ajao recharges her battery at work before driving to Curry Student Center. During a light dinner she puts finishing touches on her assignments and studies until class from 6:30 to 9:30. Sprinkled throughout the day in intervals, Ajao works on BDY CONSULT – her boutique consultancy.

For those who are looking to build the digital arm in their business or marketing career, Ajao has three pieces of advice.


Never give up
“How are you going to make money?” is the concern that Ajao was met with upon sharing she’s pursuing a master’s degree in digital media studies. In 2018 Ajao was selected as one of six recipients of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Graduate Fellowship, a scholarship program offered by the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute. “There aren’t a lot of colleges that have an institute for people of color,” says Ajao. Having lived in the Mandela Homes across from Northeastern—where she wanted to go for undergrad—it’s full circle that the school was where Ajao took her business to the next level.

What you want to be and who you are doesn’t exist yet
Ajao says there would have been no way to express as a teenager that she would become a digital marketer when she grows up, and she’s here to disrupt the notion that you have to know exactly what you want to do. “Having a computer in the early 2000s was a major luxury,” says Ajao, “and you never know what new technology will come up in the future that you’ll be an expert in.” If you have a vision, you have to do things that people don’t completely understand, according to Ajao.

May 3, 2022


There aren’t a lot of colleges that have an institute for people of color.

Adebukola Ajao, CPS’12

Actively seek your purpose
By Ajao’s senior year of college she knew she was going to serve small businesses of color, after observing the knowledge gap that entrepreneurs who only attended high school—like her mother—face. With a goal of doubling the amount of small businesses that are online by 2022, Ajao used her studies in the socialization of black culture to encourage people in her community to use digital marketing as a resource. Through the opportunities made available in Ajao’s newsletter, ten small business owner subscribers received over 100K in funding. “I’m really tethered to my purpose,” says Ajao, “it could permeate education, fashion…any industry; think big and disseminate out.”




Spicing up America’s Craft Brewing Scene

Five tips for disrupting a market: Serial Entrepreneurship 101

By Ilana Gensler, MA’19

When Van Sharma, SSH’11, MS’13 and his brother Sumit—a BU alum—moved from London to Portland, Maine in the ’90s they stood out as the only Indian kids in school; today, the co-founders of ethnic beer brand, Rupee stand out as the few people of color within the craft brewing world. For some, craft beer is simply a beverage of choice. But for this entrepreneurial duo, it’s about game changing the food and beverage arena in a bold, diverse, and innovative way.

Upon enrolling at Northeastern, Sharma aspired to be a diplomat. Four Dialogue of Civilizations later, he was enthralled by the world of international relations. “The idea was never to own a business,” says Sharma, “but I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs five generations deep, and it’s a gene that comes out naturally.” While visiting Portland during the pandemic after living in London for nearly a decade, Sharma realized that Indian and Asian beer companies were experiencing a massive supply chain issue of shipping products to the states. “For a lot of Indian beer companies, it was a loss make and logistical nightmare to get products to this side of the world” says Sharma, “and we were fascinated by wanting to solve this problem – something we also experienced as kids in our family’s Indian restaurants.”


these are real-life exchanges between Sharma and his network about what it takes to win in business today, and how to know if entrepreneurship is right for you.

What are three pieces of advice you would suggest for launching your idea into reality?
1) Your idea is only as special or unique as how hard you are willing to sell it, promote it, and market it. You must work hard, and no one is going to do the heavy lifting for you.
2) Are you financially secure enough? If you need financial safety never quit your full-time job to pursue your idea or side hustle until you can cover your daily living expenses, and then some.
3) Talk to everybody! Network aggressively and create meaningful relationships across the world. Also learn to not care what people are going to say about you or your idea; people are always going to have an opinion on anything you do.

What’s the best guidance you can share for someone wanting to take the plunge into the start-up world? 
Mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter! It’s not glamorous. It’s not what it looks like on social media. You’ll work more than you did in a corporate gig, and there’s this overarching feeling of always being switched on as everything is truly 100% your problem and responsibility when starting out. Trust the process but also be realistic. You must be mentally tough to make it in this world. 

What skills did you need to develop to be an entrepreneur?
A lot of people have asked me before what they need to major in at a university to hit the ground running in the startup space. My advice is that you don’t need to study business to make it big in business. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs I know in my network across London and New York didn’t come from traditional business school backgrounds where they spent time studying supply chain management or entrepreneurship. Instead, they always kept diversified interests majoring in areas like political science—like myself—and focused on building and acquiring new skills within sales, marketing, or finance in the real world.

April 28, 2022

We’re using beer as a way of remaining proud of our heritage and unique cultural identity.

– Van sharma, ssh’11, MS’13

Is there anything you would advise against for a first-time entrepreneur?
Are you really ready for this? Are you ready to feel super high and equally extremely low? If you’re able to thrive in ambiguous environments and operate at 150% when things don’t work out, you should take a stab at it. Also, don’t sweat the small stuff or you will go crazy!

What do you want to see more of in your industry?
Less regulation and increased diversity. My little brother and I didn’t realize how male, pale, and stale the brewing industry is. Every day we are among the only two visible ethnic minorities when engaging with brewers, breweries, distribution companies, and state officials. We entered one of the least diverse industries in North America and have faced some challenges being foreign on a couple of occasions. Rupee is not only a beer, but rather a global platform for taking our restauranter background we grew up in our entire lives into the next 50 years in a different way. We’re using beer to tell a story about the modern-day Indian Rupee, and also showcase a new and creative way of remaining proud of our heritage and unique cultural identity.

Taking a seat at the boys’ table

Two ways to change perceptions about roles and genders

By Ilana Gensler, MA’19

“A real man drives a truck, you know what I mean guys?” says a public official at The Department of Public Works for the city of Providence, Rhode Island, which services approximately 190,000 residents. Two high-ranking male DPW team members clarify they do not drive a truck, to which Maureen “Mo” McManus, AS’07 replies, “I do, sir,” which is met with great surprise.

Women make up 9% of the DPW workforce in Providence. McManus has represented one out of ten women in the entire department. Before today, it was even less. Now, McManus is the highest-ranking female at DPW in one of the most essential departments in the Capital City. McManus assists in directing seven divisions—which include approximately 110 team members and 150 vehicles and equipment—while simultaneously supporting women so that they can contribute to the fabric of their work culture. Here’s how she does it.


Have a voice at the table through representation

Since her time at DPW, McManus has assisted in moving seven women into their desired roles. “We currently have two female Division Heads and recently hired the first female laborer in the highway division,“ says McManus, “and we need to give women the opportunity to show they can get the work done just as well, or better, than their male counterparts.” In seeing one woman with multiple years at the city be passed up for a desired position several times, McManus leveraged her platform. “She applied for another position here, and I said, ‘We have to make this happen.’” McManus also noticed that DPW didn’t have many support programs in place for mothers when schools and daycares closed during the pandemic. “My job is to be the voice of people who are not in the room, and to look at workers holistically.” According to McManus, your staff is your greatest resource. “If you don’t believe that, you are not being a good leader,” says McManus.

Bring levity to work and spread positivity

“Working for city government you don’t get a lot of people saying, ‘Good job,’” says McManus, who capitalizes on any opportunity to dress in a costume or hang up inspiring mantras. “My job is to empower people to be their best selves,” says McManus. “Every job is essential to operations,” says McManus, “and everyone should be treated with respect no matter what job they perform—from a custodian to a plow driver.” Nationally, there is a vacuum of female leadership in the field of public works. The way McManus sees it, when you are the minority, you may need to navigate uncomfortable situations that others may not have to ever think about. “You can work hand in hand with men who have been around for 30+ years,” says McManus, “by being humble and asking, ‘What can I learn from you?’” At the end of the day, it’s about getting the job done as a team and building each other up, according to McManus. “If I can empower others to break boundaries, I will have accomplished something incredible.”

March 4, 2022

Maureen “Mo” McManus

“If I can empower others to break boundaries, I will have accomplished something incredible.”

Maureen “Mo” McManus, AS’07
Maureen “Mo” McManus, AS’07
McManus utilizes any opportunity to dress in costume

A Survival Kit for Balancing Grad School and Full-time Work

By Cesar Hernandez

There is a tweet by James Clear, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Atomic Habits that resonates with me as I reflect on my making a career change from strength and conditioning to computer science. It reads:

1) Decide what you want to achieve.

2) Try different ways of achieving it until you find one that works for you.

3) Do more of what works. Do less of what doesn’t.

4) Don’t stop doing it until it stops working.

5) Repeat. It is both this simple and this hard.

With no prior background in computer science, Northeastern’s Khoury College Align program was tailored for students like me to come away with a master’s degree. I understood the challenges I would face but did not know the degree of difficulty that lay ahead. Here’s how I managed the competing priorities of my job and graduate program.

Embrace the difficulties

  • Find your focus and streamline your thoughts by jotting down all ideas that may be cluttering your headspace
  • Hit the reset button and feel in control of your day through five minutes of meditation
  • Balance your studies with fifteen minutes of exercise everyday

Control what you can control

  • Set priorities and boundaries so that free time and school time are separate
  • Meal prep for the week so that you are not stressed about being hungry
  • Compartmentalize a to-do list in your phone

March 2, 2022

Connect

  • Keep your stress in check by talking it out with classmates who have shared experiences
  • Reach out to alumni holding positions that interest you
  • Change your perspective by learning the journeys of your peers

Cesar Hernandez is Program Assistant for Entrepreneurship and Career Strategy in the Alumni Relations Office.

RESOURCES:

Go Remote with Your Resume

By Michele Rapp

Searching for hybrid or remote work, exclusively? Stand out in your candidacy by demonstrating your track record on paper and in interviews.

Summary section
Include a bullet about your remote experience:

  • Two years of experience working 100% remotely
  • Three years of managing a team from a home office
  • One year of experience in a hybrid role

Job bullets
Showcase your remote successes:

  • Managed partnerships with more than 25 clients through Salesforce from a dedicated home office
  • Exceeded company’s annual quotas by producing more than 200 pieces of content, and was recognized as a top remote employee
  • Worked with global clients in three countries
  • Initiated monthly online social events to enhance staff teambuilding and onboarding for new employees

Employer information
Indicate “remote” next to your title, rather than city or state.

Skills section
List programs you use, such as Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Asana, or Wrike.

Professional development
Share webinars, conferences, and sessions you attended as well as remote work topics you presented on, such as managing a virtual team, collaboration tools, or customer strategies.

Best practices
Remember to:

  • Focus on your impact and accomplishments
  • Identify and emphasize your top skills and brand, and use transferrable skills when changing career direction
  • Devote space to the most relevant information and trim or delete the rest
  • Enhance the readability of your resume by avoiding dense or wordy bullets
  • Use layouts and formats that are easy to read

March 2, 2022

Michele Rapp, Associate Director of Alumni Career Strategy creates diverse professional development programs and networking events for alumni. She oversees the NUsource networking platform and guides alumni from diverse sectors and career stages to:

  • Clarify their direction
  • Develop an effective job search
  • Network
  • Advance their careers

No, It’s Aadil

Belonging, and How I Got There

By Aadil Sulaiman, SSH’14

On March 11, 2010, I was accepted to Northeastern University. Boston? In the fall? With the financial aid I would need to make it all possible? Less than a month later, I decided I wanted to go. All I could think about were the friends I would make, the clubs I would join, and all of the things I would learn about myself, my passions, and my challenges. All of that ended up being true, but there was so much more that I never anticipated.

Sometime in my first semester at Northeastern, I was walking through Snell Library Quad when I saw some students raising awareness. “9 out of 10 low-income students don’t graduate college” their signs said. I wondered, “Is that me?” But I couldn’t let it bother me. I came to Northeastern to succeed, to learn, to build a foundation for my career.

I lived in International Village with other students from across the globe, but as a Pakistani-American, I always felt either too Pakistani or too American to fit in with anyone. I studied International Affairs and Economics but few in my classes really looked like me, had a story like me, or a name like mine either. I remember thinking nobody cared about the issues that felt so close to my heart. So I joined a likeminded student group, the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP,) and it was suspended by the University a year later.

Then on my first co-op a customer on the phone called me “Bill.” My team thought it was funny, and I let it stick. I was trying to fit in. I didn’t think I could speak up and stand my ground. I should have told them they can call me by my name. It’s “Aadil” and it means “the one who is fair or just.” And it’s not that hard to say.

I never anticipated that I would feel like I don’t belong. That part of the ups and downs of my life would be about trying to be heard and seen. But what shaped me most in my life since then was realizing my own power to shape how I belong. Shirley Chisholm once said, “if they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

SJP was reinstated a year later on free speech grounds. There was a relentless network of support across various universities, academic groups, and activist communities throughout and beyond the process. I made lifelong friends who opened my eyes to how big and intertwined the struggle for our future is. I learned that you can’t do it alone.

At my future jobs and co-ops, I shared my name and my history, proudly. I talked about my culture and my background and organized Iftar dinners for colleagues and students. I spoke up for causes that aligned with my values and the values of those around me. I made sure people could pronounce my name, and I went through the process of correcting others until they started correcting others for me. I learned that if there’s not space, you have to make the space yourself – even if that means disrupting business-as-usual.

“But there is a payoff when you can look at your environment, your job, your friends, and say that you feel a sense of belonging; you feel like you belong.”

Aadil Sulaiman, SSH’14

I spoke up in a community meeting many years ago about the disproportionate impact a new program could have on communities of color. I wanted to know whether that impact had been researched or flagged during the design stages. I could feel the eyes on me; my face was getting hot as I was speaking, and I knew that I was being seen as a “blocker” in the process. But I also knew that this was an important issue that hadn’t been given any time in previous meetings.

After the session, a woman approached me and shared that she had been feeling the same things, but she had difficulty speaking up because she always felt like the only person who cared. Emboldened, we became allies at future meetings, ensuring that issues were raised even if the other was not present, and backing each other up whenever possible. Through this, I learned that by carving out space for yourself you can empower others to do the same.

My only regret is that I didn’t push myself and push those around me sooner. It’s not always easy and it can come at an emotional or professional cost. But there is a payoff when you can look at your environment, your job, your friends, and say that you feel a sense of belonging; you feel like you belong.

I had a colleague at one of my first jobs, Brother D, who had a saying. “Good to see you,” you might say to him in the morning. “It’s great to be seen,” he would reply.

Indeed, it is.

Aadil Sulaiman, SSH’14 (he/him/his) serves as Director of Scalable Solutions at Year Up where he works to close the opportunity divide for young adults across the United States. He sits on the board of Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and lives in Dorchester, MA with his partner Rachel, and cat, Beast. Aadil can be reached via LinkedIn or NUSource.

January 24, 2022

Life after CAMD

Staying visible with a little passion and tenacity

By Ilana Gensler, MA’19

Slowly emerging into light breaking through the tunnels of the MBTA E line, Emilio Guido, AMD’20 finally rises to Northeastern’s main campus buildings and he feels like he has arrived; wherever it is, whatever he is supposed to be, Guido has made it to his destination.

But Guido didn’t get his footing immediately upon transferring from Suffolk University. Initially studying business administration, Guido gravitated toward film and the College of Arts, Media and Design.

“I have always been an entrepreneur and blend business and art more than I have come to realize,” says Guido. “There’s a clearer path for business school students, and fewer questions that hit them as hard as they hit CAMD students like, ‘What are you going to do with a degree in Communication Studies?”

Clothing line owner and independent filmmaker, Guido imparts three tips on students to prepare them for their first few years out of school.


Trust your gut

While on co-op as videographer for the D’Amore-McKim School of Business Communications team, Guido felt right. “Co-op set my expectations very high for what I want when I get to the point of running my own team,” says Guido. Job searching at the start of the pandemic, Guido fought temptation to accept any job for the sake of needing one. According to Guido, the feelings and experience that you gain on co-op guide you toward finding a position that fits you. “When you leave school trying to figure out a creative path, Northeastern has a lot of resources that you can come back to.” Guido would consult his co-op advisor on different directions that he could apply his skills in, and seek console from his favorite professor during the process of getting rejected.

Do the physical work

For Guido, looking for a job became a game of what boxes he couldn’t check. “My current position is as Video Producer at America’s Test Kitchen,” says Guido. “It seems like it should have been easy with having a video producing background to get to that space,” says Guido, “but I basically tried every other position to get there.” Guido was guided by perseverance and indeed.com. Looking for a job is a job the way Guido sees it. “It took hard work, relentlessness, and tenacity to keep firing off resumes and trying different avenues to secure some kind of position,” says Guido, “but you have to do the physical work to make discoveries based on the data that comes back to you.”

January 5, 2022

Emilio Guido, AMD’20

“There’s a clearer path for business school students, and fewer questions that hit them as hard as they hit CAMD students.”

Emilio Guido, AMD’20

Have the persistence to believe in yourself

Guido balances his clothing line, filmmaking, and working at America’s Test Kitchen the same way he balanced being a filmmaker and student at Northeastern. “It’s been a battle of two halves,” says Guido. “The first half of the day was work or class, and the second half was pursuing my own passions.” Now, Guido operates within the 9am – 5pm schedule and dedicates the remaining time for shooting. “It comes back to believing in yourself,” says Guido. “My mantra when we were shooting my movie was, ‘let’s make dreams come true.’” To keep a pulse on Guido’s projects, visit his site.

IDEA: It’s a Family Affair

AAISHA BALAKRISHNAN, DMSB’23

Brand Director, IDEA

By Ilana Gensler, MA’19

‘You are a product of your environment’ rings true for Aaisha, DMSB’23 and Abhishek Balakrishnan, DMSB’20 raised in the Middle East—a big start-up hub. At five, Aaisha was fascinated by the ability to elicit emotion through marketing. “My mom has a love for old ads and would show us case studies,” says Aaisha. When not learning from her mother—professor of international business and marketing, she was participating in end world hunger events with her father—human resources manager for Yum! Brands, Inc. “I was debating between international relations and international business,” says Aaisha, “but business is a tool that we can use to do good, which is why I went into it.”


Stepping out of his spotlight

Abhishek encouraged Aaisha to join IDEA when he was an analyst, but her efforts to step out of his spotlight remained steadfast. Even still, Aaisha spent more time in the lab to bring snacks, set up events, and meet founders. Aaisha took on a marketing associate role at IDEA mid-way through spring of 2020 and stayed on to help transition during the pandemic and departure of several members. “I ended up joining the year Abhishek was CEO,” says Aaisha. “I was like, ‘I want to support you’ and he was like, ‘The best way you can support me is by helping to write articles,’” says Aaisha. “He was slowly chipping away at my resolve and it worked.”

Finding her place

Aaisha only knew IDEA as the venture accelerator at first and saw it as a faucet for entrepreneurship. “Once I started hanging out with Abhishek and student members, I realized there’s so much more to it,” says Aaisha, “and I started to embrace what it can be.” According to Aaisha, entrepreneurship is a way to create your culture from the ground up instead of taking over what’s already been made. “I got roped into being chief of staff and now I’m brand director,” says Aaisha. “It kept building and I found my place in IDEA.”

November 23, 2021

With a little help from my friends

Aaisha aspires to start a branding consultancy in partnership with friends in the College of Arts, Media and Design. “I want to see if we can make something out of this,” says Aaisha, who is getting advice from Abhishek – an insider to the industry. “My mom is mentoring us through test trials to see what our workflow is like as a team and figuring out our processes for payments and client management,” says Aaisha. For those who aren’t seeking to start a firm Aaisha recommends joining the student management team at Mosaic, a peer-to-peer community of builders and leaders. “There’s room to explore your own interest through open houses or the NEXPO exposition where you can hear what we’ve been doing without getting involved,” says Aaisha.