One reason you want to change jobs is to land a big fat pay increase, right? Before you begin searching the job boards or applying for any jobs, you will want to understand some things about today’s hiring process and pitfalls that may limit your earning potential.
Supply and Demand
If the workforce is filled with people who do the same thing you do, then it’s easy for an employer to find the talent they are looking for. This tends to drive salaries down. This is one reason personal branding has become important to people job searching.
When you promote your unique set of skills and experiences, you look less average and more like a must-have resource to employers. When done well, your efforts could result in an increased perceived value and therefore, more money.
Know Your Value
How much should someone with your experience be earning? That’s a great question! It isn’t easy to answer but you’ll need to find an answer. There are many variables to consider such as education, years of experience, industry, geographic location, size of company and more. It’s important to take all these factors into consideration as well as the fact that no one has the exact same background as you.
Internal vs External Job Change
If you are looking for a change in salary, keep in mind that it is often difficult to negotiate a big pay increase when you are an internal candidate. It isn’t unusual for people to leave their current organization to achieve the salary bump they are looking for. But following the steps below will at least give you the knowledge and confidence to ask for more!
Step One: Use Job Postings
You can start by searching job boards and looking at the jobs that you are suited for. Some posted jobs do list salary information.
As tempting as it is to stop here, don’t! You will need to conduct research using several different sources. Using multiple resources will help corroborate the salary ranges.
Step Two: Find Out What Other Professionals Earn
There are several ways you can find out the salaries of jobs you are interested in. It’s awkward to ask someone how much money they make. But you can ask someone in a similar role what she thinks the average salary is for that type of job.
People Who Work In The Role
The best source of salary information is asking someone who is working in the type of job you are interested in. Arrange a networking meeting and ask about their scope of responsibilities, their background, and of course, what is the going rate for that type of job in the marketplace today?
Did you know that professional associations often conduct salary research and share that data as a benefit to their members? Now would be a good time to investigate joining one.
Don’t forget to tap into the market knowledge third-party recruiters have. Companies often hire a third-party recruiter to fill an opening, which means these recruiters know salary information for the jobs they’ve filled. Pick up the phone and call a recruiting agency and ask to speak with the recruiter who places people in your desired occupation.
Employer Review Sites
Employer review sites like Glassdoor can also shed some light on how much people in a similar role are paid. Here’s the link to their salary information.
Online Salary Calculators
Last, but not least, online salary calculators can give you a broad salary range. This is a quick and easy way to start your research, but dig deeper to find more information.
O*Net Occupational salaries (finetune wages by state)
NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) for new grads
Use a spreadsheet to collect your information. It will make it easier to analyze the data.
Know Your Range
Based on your research and conversations, and taking your unique background into consideration, establish your salary range. The lowest number in your range is the amount you would accept if the right type of job was offered. The highest number is the amount you would love to earn. As a general rule, keep your range fairly tight – the difference between your two numbers shouldn’t be much more than $50,000.
Be Ready When It’s Time To Talk Money
You will be asked for your salary requirements during the online application process, so it is important to know your value at the beginning of your job search.
You will also be asked about your salary expectations during a phone screen.
Instead of responding with your range, ask ALWAYS ask what the company has budgeted for the position. It may feel uncomfortable to ask this question, but it’s important to know. You don’t want to under or overprice yourself for the position.
You may want to modify your range to ensure it falls within what the company is offering.
If you carefully analyzed the job description and you’ve done your due diligence researching salaries, your range should be close. However, if your number is far off, you may need to ask the recruiter more questions about the job responsibilities to make sure it is what you are looking for.
Salary Isn’t The Only Thing That Matters
Before you even start searching for a new job, make a wish list of all the job duties, benefits and perks that are important to you. Use this as a starting point for your search.
Your challenge is to find a job with an employer that meets as many of your requirements as possible and compensates you for the value you deliver.
Looking for more insight and help with negotiating your salary?
This post originally appeared on US News & World Report On Careers
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.