How to Know Your Worth Before Heading into a Salary Negotiation


Before you head into your next salary negotiation, it’s important to know what your skills and experience are worth. Many professionals struggle to get an accurate estimate, either because they don’t know where to look or make inappropriate comparisons. 

Luckily, it is possible to get a solid grasp on your worth. Here’s how. 

Know What You Bring to the Table

First and foremost, you need a thorough understanding of what you bring to the table. One of the easiest methods for assessing your capabilities is to list out details about your skills and experience. 

Consider which skills are critical to your current or target role. Then, quantify your experience in those areas, adding information about your experience level, including the amount of time you’ve used that skill as well as your degree of expertise. 

The goal is to create an accurate overview of your relevant capabilities. That way, you can more easily compare where you stand against other professionals in your field or specialty. 

Research the Right Way

Salary information on nearly every position imaginable is fairly accessible thanks to the internet. Many websites list pay-related overviews based on data supplied by employers and employees, and the databases are highly searchable. 

However, before you start your salary search, you need to select the right targets. First, you need to examine positions that you could reasonably land based on what you bring to the table or that align with what you are doing today. You can’t include jobs that require skills you don’t have or more experience than you’ve obtained, as you can’t necessarily say that you qualify for those roles, so they aren’t great comparisons for determining your value. 

Ideally, you want to identify positions that closely align with the role for which you are about to have a salary negotiation. These will give you the best overview of what your skills and experience are worth in today’s market. 

Additionally, you don’t want to include data that doesn’t relate to your local area. National salary averages aren’t going to be beneficial if you work in a region that is substantially different from the average, such as by having a significantly higher or lower cost of living or a separate labor and job market. Instead, you need to focus your search on your city or others that you could reasonably commute to if you want an accurate comparison. 

For example, if you work in a smaller city and are 90 miles from a major metro area, you can’t include that metro area’s data in your estimate unless you are preparing to negotiate a salary for a role there. If your employer’s city isn’t a comparable size with a similar cost of living and labor or job market, it isn’t a fair comparison. You may end up with an inflated sense of worth, causing you to aim for a salary that isn’t appropriate in your city. 

By focusing on your immediate area, you can see precisely what other professionals with similar job titles, experience levels, and skills earn in and around your city. This data is powerful for a salary negotiation, as it focuses on your professional expertise and your local community. 

Ultimately, it is possible to gauge your work as a professional, as long as you know what you bring to the table and do the right research. If you’d like to find out more, the team at Bayside Solutions can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our skilled recruiters today and see how our salary negotiation expertise can benefit you.