How to Research a Position’s Salary
As you enter the job market (or a new industry) the salary range of positions you’re qualified for is likely top of mind. But how do you figure out what a realistic range is for what you’re after?
Besides having an inside scoop from someone who is already employed in a similar role, you need to do some digging of your own. And if it’s one thing you do before an interview, please take the time to do your research. You need to have a solid answer for the “What are is your salary requirements?” question so you don’t sound ill-prepared or worse, low ball yourself.
Scour the Internet
The first place to start, especially if you’re newer to an industry, should be the wealth of information that is the Internet.
First, start by looking at sites like Salary.com and PayScale. These websites either have you input select information to provide a salary range for your experience, or offer other people’s salary ranges who are in the role you’re seeking.
This is a great jumping off point because you can get a good sense of the range you should be seeking based on your exact experience, location and industry.
For most major industries, there are sites that tailor specifically to salaries in that industry. For example, as a writer, there are sites that collect salaries and rates others are paid and provide them in one database. Search to see if your industry provides something like this so you can see real amounts people were paid, for what work, and by what company.
Talk to People
While everyone should do their salary research online, talking to people who are in your desired role or industry is invaluable. Not only can you ask questions, but you can get an opinion on the range you’ve landed on from your previous research.
If you’re seeking an entry-level job this will be harder, as your network is smaller than if you’d been working for a few years. However, ask other recent graduates you’re comfortable with if you can pick their brain on how they landed on a salary requirement. And keep in mind it’s more likely for a company to have a set salary for entry-level roles.
If you’ve been in the industry for a while, reach out to a few people you feel very comfortable having a candid conversation with. This could be current or former co-workers, a mentor, a previous manager, etc. Let them know ahead of time what your goal of the conversation is: You’re seeking a new position and would love to get advice on salary range. This allows someone to bow out if they don’t want to talk about money, and also helps them to come prepared for the conversation.
When you’re having the conversation, don’t show that you’re nervous (if you are). Be confident in your request and lay your cards on the table. This will not only make the other person feel more comfortable, but it shows that you take them and their advice seriously.
So, if you do anything before your next interview (and there are a lot of things you should do to prepare) research the position’s salary ahead of time. The only way you’ll get what you’re worth is if you ask.