June 23, 2021

Get the Salary You Deserve: Tools for Determining How Much You’re Worth

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You want to earn as much money as possible and there really is no simple answer for achieving this. The easiest thing to do is test the job market and find out how much you’re worth. But why not be prepared?

We work with job seekers regularly to advise them on how to think about where they are in their job, where they want to be and what type of salary they can expect. Here’s our advice to you:

How To Determine How Much You’re Worth

The following is a list of tools and thoughtful steps you need to determine your worth both within your organization and your field:

A word of caution as you get started: ultimately you can ask for whatever you want, but you run the risk of pricing yourself out of an opportunity if your skills and experience do not warrant the price tag. Be as prepared as possible when determining your worth, but also be realistic.

1. Do The Research To Determine Your Worth… But Understand The Realities

You can check websites, job postings, and network with colleagues working within your occupation or field as a starting point. You can also factor in your current compensation and any other offers you’ve gotten… and you should. You need to understand however, that companies ultimately make compensation decisions based upon not only market data, but their budget, and how a particular candidate’s skills and experience relate to those data points. Companies will also compare your skills and experience to their existing team and how well you relate to the open role and the team you’re joining.

That said . . .

2. Look at Job Search Scenarios To Assess The Salary You Deserve

Knowing how companies think about your worth doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek to determine your worth, however, and we encourage you to consider the below scenarios (some of which has been drawn from the posts “How Much Am I Worth? – 5 Ways to Figure it Out” on Salary.com and “How To Negotiate Your Salary When You Have No Obvious Leverage” on Fast Company respectively) as you seek to do so:

Experience & Skills

What you bring to the table can make all the difference. For example, you need to assess your previous work experience, especially how it relates to the position you seek. And if you’ve had a gap in employment, look to incorporate any volunteer work or educational classes that pertain to the job as well.

This is where the STAR approach can be helpful as well… STAR is an acronym for situation or task, action, and result, and the focus of STAR is to share a work scenario, for example, one which led to a conflict, the actions you took to resolve it and the result of these actions, to reflect experience that you otherwise may be lacking.

Similarly, if you don’t have experience in a field you are looking to enter, at least show that you have knowledge of that field, how you gained it, and that you can speak industry.

Final Thoughts

Companies ultimately make compensation decisions based upon market data, their budget, and how a particular candidate’s skills and experience relate to those things. They’ll compare that person’s skills and experience to their existing team and how well they relate to the open role and the team he/she is joining.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand what you’re worth, but it does mean you need to be prepared to discuss your worth, and to do that we encourage you to:

  • Do your research on salary ranges
  • Explore the different scenarios that may arise, while you’re searching
  • Always consider the big picture in terms of compensation

If you have questions about determining how much you’re worth, we’re here to help.

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