Welcome back to my post series on planning and organising your latest job search! This week we’re covering how to know your worth. Whether you’re negotiating a salary or trying to figure out what makes you an ideal candidate, you need to show recruiters that you’re worth their time and attention.
If you have had to search for work recently, you’ll know that job hunting is no easy task. For most of us, the days of walking into a life-long career are gone. Instead, we face an endless slog of applications, most of which we’ll never hear back about. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry, I know your pain! While job hunting will never be straightforward, I have some planning advice that should help you get some traction. I’m also sharing a free Planner & Tracker download, to help kick off your job search in style!
In this Post Series:
- Part One: Setting Job Search Parameters
- Part Two: Creating a Great CV (or Resume)
- Part Three: Know Your Worth
- Part Four: Interview Advice
- Part Five: My Personal Job Hunting Tips
Know Your Worth: Setting Salary Expectations
Negotiating a salary can be one of the hardest parts of finding a job. When a huge number of jobs are advertised without a salary suggestion, it can be very hard to know what to apply for; let alone what you can negotiate for if you receive an offer! As I talked about in my Setting Parameters post, to start a job search you need a rough idea of your salary expectations. This is so you don’t waste your time applying to jobs that will never meet your expenses and also to give you a rough figure for any salary negotiations.
As mentioned, however, a lot of roles don’t advertise with an exact salary. They either have a range or, less helpfully, don’t state a figure at all! In these cases, you need to know where you stand and how to negotiate the best deal. Check out these top tips below to ensure you get the salary you deserve!
Salary Negotiation Tips
- Know the minimum wage! Know the bare minimum you are entitled to so you can’t be taken in by offers that underpay you. This also applies to your other entitlements; pension contribution, holidays and sick pay. Obviously, this is different depending on where you live, so do some research. This is particularly important for people just starting work or who have struggled to find employment.
- Research the average wage for the position you are applying for. Again, this is location dependent, but there are some great resources out there; LinkedIn and Glassdoor are somewhere to start. Also, reach out to your network of friends and colleagues. Don’t be afraid to talk salaries with people you know; it’s a great way to figure out if what you’re being paid is fair.
- If no salary was stated on the initial application, ask about it if you get an interview offer. This way you don’t go in blind- and don’t waste time if it’s not a viable figure.
- Don’t be the first person to name a figure! If you’re asked what your salary expectation is, ask them to provide their budget range for someone with your level of experience. This is particularly important if no figure has been advertised. You don’t want to name a figure outside their budget!
- If a range is already provided, still ask for a more specific figure based on experience level. Some organisations work on a scale system, so an external hire may not be eligible for the same rate as someone already in the system.
- Get the employer to narrow down their offer as much as possible before naming your figure!
- If you’re in the fortunate position of having competing offers you have more leverage! Measure up the pros and cons of each position and negotiate for the best salary package.
Do your research. Know what you’re entitled to and the average salary for the position. Don’t be the first person to name a figure! Ask about budget and experience levels then go from there.
Know Your Worth: Not Just Money!
As I talked about in my post on creating a great CV, you don’t want to be a number to recruiters. You are more than your qualifications and previous job titles. So too, job opportunities are more than the salary they offer.
To truly know your worth, you need to look beyond money and figure out what would make you a great, unique employee. This can be particularly difficult if you’re just starting your working life, but we all have a unique perspective that can be a valuable tool.
Thinking Laterally About Skills & Interests.
Use personal interests, extracurricular activities or special projects to highlight your greatest talents and selling points. Check out the following examples.
- Marathon runner: shows endurance and dedication
- School shows or productions: Public speaking and presentation
- Played a sport: Teamwork (bonus leadership points if you were ever captain!)
- Fundraising for charity: Persuasive and organisational skills
- Computer course: Technical literacy and familiarity with various systems
The possibilities are endless, you just need to think about what you can offer that other people can’t. Having something different and eyecatching can draw a recruiter’s attention to a CV or give you a great interview talking point. In my last interview I got asked about an Improvised Drama course I took at university! It was different, which created curiosity, and then I was able to talk about how it helped me to develop quick thinking and problem-solving skills. As long as you can explain how it’s relevant to your job search, you can include it!
Know Your Worth: In Conclusion…
For any Job Search, make sure you’re well aware of the average salary you should expect and the minimum you could legally be paid. If you end up negotiating a salary, don’t be the first to name a figure.
Don’t forget, that to truly know your worth you have to think about more than how many dollars you can expect to earn. What can you, as a unique individual, offer a potential employer? Think about your greatest strengths so that when an interview rolls around, you’re confident in your abilities and value as an employee.
It’s also worth remembering that your passions may affect your salary expectations. If you truly have a calling for a particular industry, you may have to weigh up that calling against your bottom line. Are you willing to take a lower salary to do something you love? What is the value of having your dream job? That’s something you’ll have to discover for yourself, but don’t forget that some things are more valuable than money.
If you want more job hunting tips and advice, including CV ideas, check out my latest Pinterest board. Otherwise, I hope this was helpful and don’t forget to subscribe below to receive your FREE job hunting planner & tracker printable worksheets!