Have you ever been filling out an application for employment, and you get to the question, “What is your desired salary?”, and you sit there and ponder over why this question, which seems so simple, can be so hard? I have experienced this, and it is a very common question people I work with usually ask. I have also come to realize that the question is hard because of these main reasons:
1. You don’t want to appear overqualified by simply saying salary negotiable,
2. Some applications won’t allow you to state salary negotiable, so you have to state an amount,
3. You don’t want to undersell yourself and receive an offer that you really can’t live with, and
4. You don’t want to oversell yourself and price yourself out completely.
Below I will share a few ways you can come up with a fair price to enter on your application when salary negotiable or a salary range is not an option:
Ask Your Network
LinkedIn is a very popular platform used by job seekers today. It shows if any of your former associates work for the employer you are presently applying for. If you feel comfortable, you can reach out to that person to inquire about salary. He/she may not be able to provide you a definite amount, but may be able to give you a range so you will have a place to start. It never hurts to ask.
Do Your Research
There a couple of websites I use frequently to search for salaries, and there are plenty more; however, I have been pretty successful with glassdoor.com and salary.com. With salary.com being my preferred site to search on, because there I am provided salary ranges from low to high based on geographical location, and many times I have been very fortunate that the particular position I am seeking a salary range for is there. I also like that it gives alternate job titles I can provide to my clients that they may not have thought of in their job search. The site is also user friendly and provides pretty detailed information.
Base What You Are Asking for Off of Your Current Salary
In my research, I found that it is not uncommon for a person to ask for a salary 10 - 20% above his/her current salary when seeking new employment. When you think about it, this is fair. If you are already working for a company where you are vested, have established yourself, and have built up a decent retirement fund, it doesn’t make sense to change jobs if you are not going to reap some type of benefits from doing so. Also, most people would not even be on the market for something new if not for seeking additional income, so 10 – 20% is a fair range to ask for. If the increased salary is not attainable and is the only reason you are seeking to move, then stay where you are until you can find an employer willing to pay you what you are WORTH.
I recently held my quarterly free seminar over salary negotiations, and one of the attendees stated that her salary including bonuses was pretty good, and she wanted to know when it is appropriate to inquire about salary because it normally doesn’t come up during the early stages of the interview process, and she didn’t want to waste her time or the employer’s time if the salary wasn’t going to be good enough. Personally, I feel, once the interviewer asks me if I have any questions for him/her then I am now in control, and this is a perfect time to inquire. Even if the person can’t give me a definitive answer, he/she may be able to provide me with a range, and I can go from there to determine if I want to proceed further in the process. Because like the seminar attendee said, there is no use in wasting my time and the employer’s time.
Remember, only you know what salary you can afford to live with based on your current lifestyle, so if you can stay the course until you find a job that pays you what you are WORTH then, by all means, stay the course.
The important thing is to “KNOW YOUR WORTH”, and don’t settle for anything less. Do your research, KNOW YOUR WORTH, and be able to justify the amount you are asking for.