Throughout your professional career, you will experience changes in compensation. In some cases, it will be a great experience and you’ll see your salary increase as you get promoted or gain experience; but in other cases, your pay might not equate to your level of experience, or you might find that you’re underpaid compared to colleagues.
Getting the salary you want or determining how much you deserve to be paid is tough path to navigate, especially when you’re not sure if you should negotiate for a higher salary at your current job, or seek a better offer from another company.
If you’re leaving your current job because you feel you aren’t being paid well, the most important thing to keep in mind during your new job search is to make sure you receive a fair salary at your next company. Negotiating salaries can be tricky, nerve-wracking and confusing. Therefore, it’s incredibly important that you do the research and financial planning that goes into landing a job with fair, equal pay.
But, how do you do that, especially if you have no idea what you want or how much you’re worth? Here are a few pieces of advice to consider.
1. Know Your Worth
We can’t say it enough, if you want to get a good salary, you need to know your worth in the current job market. This is why we built our Know Your Worth tool to give you the opportunity to understand your value in the workforce. Whether you went to school, have years of experience or skills that can translate to relevant experience, you deserve to be paid fair, regardless of your age.
2. Plan your personal finances
Part of figuring out the ideal salary includes personal financial planning. When you factor in all of your living costs (rent, utility bills, insurance, car payments, etc.,) hopefully your salary isn’t just enough for you to make ends meet. Before you can determine the salary that fits both your living costs and equates to your job experience, you have to have your personal finances in order. The goal is to find a balance that will allow you to both cover your monthly costs and save some of your earnings.
Once you have a handle on your personal finances and know how much you can command in the marketplace, you’ll have a much better idea of that target number.
3. Research what the company pays
If you are in the interview process, a strategic move is to research the company to find out how well they pay their current employees, especially those in similar roles to the one you are applying for. Look up salary information on Glassdoor, which is an essential step to preparing for future salary negotiation. For example, if you see that the company is underpaying for the position, you can use that to make a case for why you deserve a higher salary.
4. Let the company make the first offer
One of the most important rules of thumb to salary negotiations is: you do not have to tell employers what you are or were earning at your previous company. Let the employer make the first offer, then you can follow it up with a higher number, and further showcase why you not only deserve to be hired, but that you deserved to be hired at a better pay rate because of the value you are bringing to their team. If you walk into the interview already agreeing to the salary they have listed or mentioned, then you’re likely losing money because they assume they can get a highly qualified candidate for lower pay. You don’t want that to happen.
So if you are asked during your interview about what you expect to earn or what you were making in your previous job, kindly decline to answer and instead shift the focus to your experience and what makes you the absolutely best candidate for this position.
5. Know what other companies will pay you for the job
One of the biggest mistakes people make during a job search is focusing on one company. Sure, you really want to work at your dream company and that’s fine. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t interview at other places too. Doing so can actually be helpful because it will give you a chance to see what other companies are paying, so if and when you get an offer from your dream company, you’ll know how their offer stacks up to those from other companies.