Everyone wants to be paid what they are worth, even more, if you can get away with it. 🙂 Most people do not put money as the top priority when choosing a job but paying you what you are worth proves that the company values your contributions. Being valued at work is a top priority. But the trickier question is determining what you are worth. There are several factors to take into account.
You aren’t just going to jump into a job right out of college and start earning $100 grand a year. That’s just not the way it works. At this point, you don’t have $100 grand worth of value to offer a company. Even if you think you do, do you have the proof? This is not to say you should be working for minimum wage as an engineer. It is simply important that you have reasonable expectations.
Where you are located in the country will play a big role in your salary. If you are in a smaller town, you may be getting paid less than if you were in a metropolitan area. This is not because you are worth less not at all! It is simply because the cost of living is less in smaller towns, so salaries are adjusted accordingly. The same goes for if you are looking for work in a high demand city.
You can have many years of experience in a field but if you have no accomplishments you may not be seeing a raise. This can become a big red flag because it can make you appear complacent and unmotivated. When you ask for that raise, make sure you can back it up with proof of how you have saved or made the company money.
Be one step ahead
Prior to extending any kind of offer, most companies will do a background check on you. These checks include your credit and criminal history. Clark.com recommends checking these out beforehand so you know whats on them. If you have terrible credit it can hurt your credibility. Clear up anything that could hold you back from that great paying job.
Companies want to get the best labor for the lowest cost. It’s the same as you wanting to get the best deal at the store. This is the biggest reason to negotiate your salary. There are many factors that come into play with the negotiations process.
What is your worth?
You will need to actually know what you are worth before you can negotiate. You will want to look at salary.com or payscale.com to determine this. Both will take in many factors, such as education, location, industry, and years of experience. From there you will have a realistic starting point. This will also allow you to see if you are being currently underpaid as well.
The art of the negotiations
Even if you have earned the company booku bucks and have a Ph.D., the company won’t pay you more because you are so great. You still need to advocate for yourself. However, you need to keep in mind that good hiring managers are not simply looking for cheap labor. They are fully aware that you get what you pay for in employees so don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Having a backup plan
Sometimes, you don’t have a work backup plan. If you are the breadwinner for your family and unemployed with no savings, this may not be the time for negotiations you just need a job. However, once you have a job you can start keeping your eye out for additional opportunities since you have the safety net of a backup plan ie. a current job. Just like with car shopping, you need to know you have the freedom to walk away. This will help your confidence as it puts the ball in your court.
Don’t disclose too much….
Clark.com suggests putting competitive or negotiable when it comes to salary. This is a very good idea, and you are not being vague or difficult by doing so. Many hiring managers will ask you for your most recently salary information. Frankly, your salary history is none of their business and it isn’t relevant either. Providing salary documentation could prevent you from getting paid what you are worth, especially if you are underpaid at your current position. It also decreases your bargaining chips which you don’t want to do. If the hiring manager insists on knowing your most recent salary that’s a red flag and you may want to cut your losses with this company.
If you get your top number hey that is icing on the cake! But, you probably aren’t expecting that, so have a few options up your sleeve. Forbes has some excellent tips to go about this. It doesn’t have to be just money either. Don’t be afraid to change up the title a bit as well to benefit you in the long run. Know the lowest you are willing to accept as well during the bargaining process.
Trying to negotiate pay can be a terrifying process! You’re thinking what if I don’t get the job, they fire me, or I don’t get that promotion! It is important to address these fears and remedy them to effectively negotiate your pay. Do your research, spruce up your resume, have a backup plan, and some competition for what you offer. If the company pays you what you are worth, then they value you plain and simple. If not, don’t shed any tears and move on.
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I’ve lived in six different states over the past ten years. That’s a lot of jobs! Different industries, and different work cultures! Both good and bad 🙂
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