What are your salary requirements? That’s probably one of the most challenging questions that job seekers get. If your salary requirements are too high, prospective employers may choose to stop pursuing you for an opportunity. If your salary requirements are too low, the employer may start to question why you’re undervaluing yourself and assume that you’re not qualified. Or, they may look at you as a bargain and hire you at the lower salary (even though they were willing to pay much more). So, it’s always best that you delay salary discussions until the very end of the recruitment process when a company has decided that you’re the best candidate for the job. But, just in case an employer insists on talking salary early in the interviewing process, it’s best that you walk in the door knowing what you’re worth.
Knowing your worth is imperative during any salary negotiation process – whether it happens during the interviewing process or while negotiating a raise with your current employer. Below are several resources that will help you figure out your worth:
University Career Services. College students have it easy. Students can visit their college’s career services office to get up to date salary information. Most campus career services offices collect salary data every year to provide the minimum, maximum and average salaries that their students have been offered by major and industry. The information is right at your fingertips.
Salary.com. This site features a free salary wizard that allows you to search for salaries by position and location. You simply type in the name of your position (or the position that you’re interviewing for) and it provides several positions with descriptions so that you can choose the position that most closely matches your position. Once you’ve selected the position that most closely matches your position, the salary wizard will give you a salary range based on geographical location.
Pay Scale. Pay Scale owns the largest database of online employee salary data in the world. Membership to this site is free and provides a salary comparison to individuals with similar job titles in the same geographic area. The site completes a comprehensive analysis of your job before providing the salary comparison to ensure that the salary information that is provided is most closely matched with your position. Pay Scale offers a premium membership for $19.95 which includes a salary negotiation guide, job listings and a host of additional benefits.
Vault. Vault provides a wide range of resources to jobseekers, including salary information. Users can browse salary reports by position, industry and company. Vault users provide their personal salary data which is used to compile the salary reports that are available to users. Vault is free of charge for students at many US universities. Professionals can pay for access for a small monthly fee.
GlassDoor. GlassDoor offers salary information for more than 108,000 companies, posted anonymously by employees and jobseekers. To access salary information you must be a member. Memberships are free for one year for users who confidentially provide their workplace information (i.e. position, salary, etc.). Students can automatically become members through their campus career center or by using their .edu email address to register for the service.
Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics collects employment data and publishes this handbook which provides critical employment information, including median salaries, for jobs. The handbook provides median salary information for positions on a national, state and local metropolitan level.
After you’ve completed your research, you will have a better idea of your worth. Keep in mind that this will be a range. If requesting a salary at the top of the range, you will need to justify why you’re worth that higher salary (i.e. previous successes, competing job offers, etc.). Also, keep in mind that some companies will pay lower salaries but offer greater benefits. You’ll need to determine what’s more important – salary or benefits. And, which benefits are most important. For example, are you willing to take a lower salary to have your school tuition paid for? Something to consider as your trying to figure out what you’re truly worth.