When you are on a job search, you need to market yourself as a worthy hire. Employers want to see potential workers who are confident
about the worth of their skills so they will feel confident about hiring them. That confidence can be evident in setting a fair and reasonable salary expectation
If you're filling out a job application or preparing for a job interview, you may be asked about your desired salary. Here is your guide to answering this question the right way.
Setting Your Salary Expectation
When preparing for a salary negotiation, you should do some research about what the position itself is worth. Look for comparable salaries
from competitors in similar positions. This should help you come up with an ideal range, and as bold as this sounds, you should set the highest number in that range based on your experience and skillset (unless you have no experience).
Of course, you should specify that the salary is negotiable or flexible to avoid appearing outlandish. However, marketing yourself at a higher rate demonstrates confidence. Aiming lower or not specifying anything at all indicates a lack of self-worth or preparedness.
You should be somewhat aggressive with your target, as it's the more aggressive types who often get better deals. However, you should be willing to at some point concede your first offer, as you're still likely to get a good deal after showing some initial assertiveness.
Avoid Playing Hardball
When negotiating your salary, it can be tempting to start playing hardball and getting into an offer-counteroffer match. However, that is often counterproductive as it makes you seem difficult and like you won't be a good team player.
For example, there could be a situation in which the employer makes the first offer. While it's often said that they expect you to negotiate, that isn't always the case. Some managers are putting out the only offer they can afford, and you shouldn't be insensitive to such a situation.
At that point, start asking fair questions. Ask if the salary is negotiable, but go deeper
. Does your experience make a difference? Are perks available that can come along with that pay grade like a good benefits package?
Also, keep in mind that it's not all about the dollar amount. Even if the employer can't budge on the higher salary, there are other matters to consider such as good benefits, a flexible work schedule, promotional opportunities, education reimbursement, etc. While it may not be the most ideal pay, those are hard benefits to pass on.
At the end of the day, you should seek to build positive relationships when applying for work. You shouldn't ruin that opportunity by getting too hung up on salary. Set an amount, but be willing to have a fair and even-handed discussion for negotiations.
Help With Your Job Search
Now that you know some basics for setting a salary expectation, you can put in the work you need to market yourself as a worthy employee to prospective jobs.
If you're presently on a job search, check out some of our postings
. With so many postings available in a wide job market, you're sure to find a fit that matches your skillset.