Yesterday one of my clients contacted me concerning the salary requirement section of an application. Money is usually the most sensitive issue in the hiring process, and discussing compensation often causes anxiety for both employee and employer.
When you’re buying any major item (house, car, flat screen television), it’s important to do your homework and find out the value of the item. It’s also important to do your homework when negotiating a salary or a raise.
Research the salary for your position, level of experience, and industry. In addition to online salary sites, you can gather information from your professional or trade association.
Research the prospective employer and its salary structure. If possible, talk to current or former employees. Alumni of your college or university who hold similar positions or who are employed by the same company may provide you with useful information. (LinkedIn can be an excellent source of contacts for this.)
One of the easiest ways to find out salary information is online. There are websites that offer solid salary information, including:
The Riley Guide Salary Guides & Guidance http://www.rileyguide.com/salguides.html
Bureau of Labor and Statistics (Wage Data by Area and Occupation) http://www.bls.gov/bls/blswage.htm
Occupational Outlook Handbook (Earnings) http://www.bls.gov/oco
U.S. Office of Personnel Management Salaries & Wages
JobSmart Salary Surveys http://jobstar.org/tools/salary/index.php
CareerOneStop Salary and Benefits Information
National Association of College and Employers
(Annual summary of employment outlook and starting salaries for new graduates)
Robert Half International Salary Guides (accounting, finance, financial services, technology, legal, creative positions, administrative jobs) http://www.rhi.com/salaryguides
You can also do a Google search for “average salary for (job title).” This can sometimes lead you to more specific salary data for a profession.
I recommend that when utilizing websites like Payscale.com and Salary.com, compare job responsibilities, not job titles. A job title means different responsibilities at different companies.
With this research you will not only gain valuable information and confidence, but you will arrive for interviews with a clear understanding and tools for salary negotiation. These same tools work for raises in your current job as well.
Jennifer Owenby is a professional resume writer located in Portland, Oregon. Please visit ONB Professional Resume Services for additional information and scheduling an appointment. Also visit here for LinkedIn Profile Services.