Determining your salary for a new job you’re after can be tricky but it doesn’t have to be. It’s common for an interviewer to ask what your ideal salary is, so it’s important to be prepared. If you’re wondering where to start in coming up with an appropriate range, we’ve outlined some tips, tricks, and great resources for reference.
What is Your Cost of Living?
When thinking of a salary that works for you, one of the first to consider is your cost of living. This should be your baseline, then go from there. Some things to consider when trying to figure out your cost of living are your monthly expenses, meaning rent/mortgage payments, childcare, student or other loans, and finally miscellaneous expenses. This needs to be your first step especially if you are new and unfamiliar with the field and don’t have a grasp on what you’re comfortable with. You might look at the salary range for a position and think “this is great,” but after doing the math of your personal expenses it may be the bare minimum.
How many years of experience do you have?
This may seem like a straightforward question but it is important, whether it’s your first job or you’ve been working for a long time. For newcomers, although you may only have a few years of experience, you may have held roles previously in another industry or academic credentials that you can use to base your salary on, but recognize that you’ll likely be starting at the bottom level of the salary range and will have to work your way up to earn more. However, if do have years of experience in the field, leverage this! Considering your extensive experience is key because you don’t want to accept a low-ball offer that doesn’t recognize your expertise.
What major projects have you worked on?
What projects have you played a key role in? How did your input ultimately enhance the project? Although you may think that this may not directly impact your future salary, it does. Each accomplishment builds on others, allowing you to build new skills that impact your salary.
What Benefits Does the Company Offer?
When considering a salary you also have to take into consideration not only what you bring to the position, but what the company is offering you. Some things to take stock of include medical/dental coverage, mental health coverage, vacation time, if the company provides childcare, and other perks. This could mean a health credit for a gym membership, wellness retreat opportunities, and travel allowance. There’s been a major shift in company culture as of late and companies are starting to realize that employees need balance to be the most productive, so it’s important to take these additional offerings into account.
Talk to Friends in the Industry
Although this conversation may be uncomfortable (and should only be had with close friends), it’s important to have a sense of how those with similar experience are being compensated. This gives you a better gauge of how the company you’re applying to and similar ones compensate their employees. From this conversation, it’s important to touch on not only their salary but company benefits they are also entitled to. You want to make sure that you aren’t accepting an offer that not only is low in range but also does provide the benefits you need. You want to ensure that your salary properly represents your worth to the company.
Review Other Resources
Researching online is a helpful way to figure out what you should be paid, especially if you’re uncertain what your colleagues and/or friends are being paid. Online forums like Reddit are a great place to start to give you a general idea of what you should be asking for. In addition, there are also great online platforms that are dedicated to educating people on salaries like Glassdoor, LinkedIn Salary, and The Salary Project.
Coming up with a salary range can feel stressful but it is important to take a breath and look at it logically. The baseline should always be what you need, then taking into consideration your experience and added value to determine what you deserve. We can’t stress enough how important it is to do your research before your interview, so you can be fully equipped with examples and reasons why you deserve your preferred salary.
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Demetra Maragos – Demetra is a Master of Arts candidate at New York University, who loves thinking outside of conventional lines to combine her passions of everything culture, fashion, and lifestyle.
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