Job Search? Know Your Numbers.

The new year brings to many thoughts of a new job. “Collect the bonus, fire the boss, and move on to something better” is the plan. If this describes you, and you are reading this blog, you certainly know you need a good resume. Once you submit it, though, you need to be ready for the call that might come from a potential employer. This means knowing your salary numbers, those that will help you decide to move or not.

More and more clients report to me that they are being asked about salary requirements during the first conversation, so it is wise to be ready. Think about your salary goals ahead of time in anticipation of the inevitable question. Here are the big numbers to have memorized.

Your current salary with bonuses, if any. Employers will ask, so be prepared to speak about it.

Your targeted salary. Employers know almost every candidate is seeking a pay increase as part of the job search. In today’s market, where talent is in short supply and there is competition for the best people, you have negotiating strength. Know your goal without being greedy. You don’t want to knock yourself out of consideration early in the process.

Your minimum salary expectation. It’s your walk-away number. If the company will not meet this requirement, you should be prepared to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” End the conversation to save everyone’s time.

There are many variables that will affect your numbers, especially the minimum. If you are currently employed and doing well, you can command more. If you are unemployed or older, you might want to be more flexible. If you have been out of work for more than a few months, you might need to consider a number at the low end of your range. Be flexible.

Base your numbers on research. While it is not always easy to target salary expectations precisely, there is information available to help. Check Glassdoor.com to find shared salary information from people who have worked for the company. Use LinkedIn to find people who do the same or similar work. Job groups on LinkedIn to ask questions from people who might know.

Don’t forget to monitor targeted company names in the news. You might be able to glean information from media coverage that will help. A story about the company struggling to find people is one example. This information gives you negotiating confidence.

There is much to consider, but the work will be worth it. With good research and an understanding of the market, you can boost your salary with confidence by completing a successful job hunt. All the best for a successful 2019.

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Bill Florin is president of Resu-mazing Services Company. He has written thousands of resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles for clients since 2009.

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