Knowing What You’re Worth

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

If you have ever looked for a job, been interviewed, or been offered a position, you have probably faced the (sometimes dreaded) question about salary. This question can be a difficult one to answer, especially for younger generations trying to break into the workforce. For young workers, your first salary can really set the tone for the rest of your career, and you don’t want to make too little or feel like you’re being taken advantage of. On the other side, you don’t want to feel that you are overstepping and turn employers off to you from the get-go. This can be a difficult issue to tackle for anyone, but luckily there are some resources and other tips that can help you finally answer that oh so difficult question.

Look at Your Past Experience

One thing that to know is that with each job you progressively take, you will normally be looking for a pay-rise, not taking a cut or even staying at the same wage. This is why your salary history and past experiences is so important to give you a leg to stand on in the workplace. Whenever you end up speaking salary and wages with an HR representative, you will need to explain that this, and that is what is going into your decision about salary. Also, for jobs that have “extra requirements” that you have, remember that those extra skills need to translate into a higher pay. Most HR representatives understand this, and will work with you for a fair number.

Use Online Resources

Like when searching for any other form of information, the Internet has tons of online resources that can let you get a peek at hiring ranges, and what you should be looking for income wise. Sites like Careerbuilder and Monster allow plenty of resources that can help you find out more information on hiring ranges, and even allows for you to search job titles, returning income information from around the country, often giving you a good regional value (25%, median, and 75%) for salaries that correspond with the job title you are searching.

To take this a step further, look into Glassdoor. Not only does Glassdoor offer up regional and country wide averages, but you can look into the actual company that hired you. This website allows for anonymous income and working environment reports, so actual employees can share their income at the time of hire to current. This lets you see exactly the value a company is putting on the position, making sure that you are compensated fairly. This can allow you to become better prepared when discussing income, and give you the confidence of having a slight advantage in the negotiating process.

Assess Your Qualifications

As mentioned, you need to have a good understanding of the job description. It is rare that any individual with fit a position perfectly. Some candidates might have every skill, but not enough experience. Or perhaps they will have extensive experience in 75% of the requirements, lacking a few of the skills. No matter the group you fall into, you need to do a diligent job of breaking down the requirements, making inferences (or doing research) about what is the most important skills, and reflect on your abilities. If your skillset is broad, but lacks depth, take that into consideration. If you have extensive knowledge of what you feel is the most important skills, and the ones you lack will be made up on site (meaning they are organization specific and will most likely be picked up once you start), then that might influence your self value. Also as earlier mentioned, look at extra qualifications. When qualifications aren’t at a job opening’s core, but still mentioned as desirable, then the company is showing their hand, saying that those qualities are of value to them. Now, these extra skills that you thought were benign, though helpful, the company is saying there is monetary value on, so let that go into your assessment as well.

So the above information should get you on track to fairly accessing your skills, and knowing your worth to a company. This is to the utmost importance with income negotiations, especially giving you a leg up in stating your initial value. You don’t want to undersell yourself, and you have to not scare of HR managers. This is always a delicate discussion, and preparation, as always, is key. In all of this, the key is to be honest with yourself in every aspect. If you lack a skill, acknowledge that. If you have a strong skill that makes you shine, put enough weight on that. Do these things and you have no trouble securing an income that you will be happy with.

This guest post is by Jordan Mendys, a media professional and blogger from North Carolina. While mainly focusing on social marketing, Jordan also writes about entertainment news, and for

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