By Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady
Your Salary Requirements
Most of us work so we can pay for our lives. When you are job searching, it’s important to determine your target salary range to make your job search more effective.
Having this information will help you prioritize which jobs to apply for and help you have those early salary conversations. Let’s look at a few strategies for answering the question, “What are your salary requirements?”
Start With Your Target Roles
First, ensure you’ve done the requisite amount of soul-searching to determine what you want to be next in your career. Have a list of what you want to do, possible job titles, relevant skills, core responsibilities, daily activities, focus areas, types of companies, and industries. Having these details on your desired job will help as you start to do salary research.
While I feel comfortable discussing various financial and insurance concepts, I do not currently hold a license or any certification that deems me inherently qualified to give financial advice. The information provided here is intended to be used for educational purposes only.
Sometimes, the core challenge is knowing how a system generally works, the terms used to describe what you’re asking about, and where to go for additional help. My goal for this article is to share information to guide you as you navigate the murky waters of job searching. I hope my personal experiences can help you cut a path through the wilderness as you try to figure out your next steps.
Feel free to take my recommendations or not. Whatever you do, double-check my facts--and everyone's purported facts, for that matter. This is your life, and you will care more about your financial and healthcare decisions than anyone else. Use this information as a starting point for further research as you ultimately decide what’s right for you.
Identify Your Priorities
Now that you understand your target job and what that looks like, think about what you value in a job.
For example, some may prioritize having a specific job title, receiving tuition reimbursement money to earn their next credential, and opportunities for a promotion within the company. Another person may prioritize having interesting work while also having schedule flexibility, the ability to work remotely most days, and low health insurance premiums. Still another person may prioritize alongside colleagues in an office, having the opportunity to mentor new employees, and finding a job they can keep for the next 20 years. Think about what is the most important to you.
In addition, think about what you value in an employer. Working for a non-profit, government entity, start-up, family business, or Fortune 500 company will have salary, benefit, job security, and total compensation-related implications.
Overall, think about what matters to you, and be aware of the salaries that align with your overall job preferences.
Factors That Influence Your Target Salary Range
When considering your salary requirements, I suggest using a range instead of one specific number. Let’s look at strategies for determining your target salary range.
Here are numbers you might have in mind that could impact your range:
I suggest the salary range you share with potential employers includes the lower number that is the minum salary you would happily accept and the maximum number is what you'd be really excited about.
What Companies Are Paying
Knowing what companies are paying for what you do should also factor in to your target salary range. Here are a few strategies for finding out more:
Search For Open Positions in States With Pay Transparency Laws
Take these steps to find out what open positions are paying:
Research Your Job Title and Geographic Location
Many websites have salary information. Two that come highly recommended by recruiters are Salary.com and Payscale.com. In fact, Salary.com has a Know Your Worth calculator where you can add details like your job title, location, education level, and years of experience and see the impact each factor has on your potential market value.
Find out from other job searchers, recruiters, and hiring managers what salaries companies are paying for specific roles. You can also inquire with professional development organizations to see if there are industry or job-specific studies available that include salary-related information.
Here are a few factors that might make this process challenging:
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7-time layoff survivor Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady, waxes poetic on layoffs, job transitions, & career resilience.