Thursday, November 3, 2011

Navigating the Salary Discussion as a Newbie

Lately, I've come across the question many post grads face when entering the working world: what compensation are you looking to obtain?
For most jobs, they ask you what you'd like to make on your application or in your interview. For others, such as those doing freelance work like myself, companies ask what you charge for your services. This can be a very tricky subject. What do you say to get the job? You don't want to sell yourself short or offer a low amount when they were thinking of paying you much higher. Yet you also don't want to suggest a number out of the company's reach or a number that is too high for the job you're looking to get in this tough economy.
Here are some tips on navigating the salary discussion:
1. Do your research. Research the current salary and rates for the job you want and the job field you're getting into. Come prepared to give a range that you feel confident with.
2. Keep a few things in mind. Does this job include health benefits, vacation days, and other benefits? If so, you may find you're willing to take a lower salary if it involves getting great benefits. Also find out if there are opportunities for raises. Most post grads start at a base salary but if you work hard you'll eventually be able to make much more.
3. Try to the get potential employer to give you a number first. When asked what my rate is, I often ask them first what they generally pay similar employees or what number they were thinking of before I offer a range of numbers.
4. Depending on the job, keep other things in mind. If you're looking to get into freelance or contract work, you may want to raise the rate you were thinking because you will have to pay your own taxes, health benefits, etc. You can mention this to a potential employer if they think the rate is too high.
5. Other questions to keep in mind when discussing compensation:
* What are the duties and responsibilities assigned to this position?
* How does your organization structure its pay system, personnel policies, and promotion as well as dispense rewards?
* Is performance important for compensation increases and promotions or is seniority the key factor?
* What is the salary range for this position?
* How much would someone with my qualifications and experience receive in this position?
Discussing salary when looking for jobs is always a nerve-wracking and tricky subject, but if you do your research and act confident you can get the pay you deserve!
*Got some information (the other questions to keep in mind) from:

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