How Much Are You Worth?

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Americans say that the most important factor in considering a job opportunity is salary. 89% of the respondents in one survey rated salary as being as most important when deciding whether to accept a job offer. In addition, more than 50% of the survey respondents believe they are underpaid.

Research Salaries

So, what to do? How can you tell if the job you’ve just been offered pays enough or if your current salary compares to the market rate? It’s going to take some time and some research to equip yourself with the information you’ll need to successfully negotiate the salary or raise you deserve.

So while you’re conducting your job search, research salaries for the career field and the geographic area you’re interested in. It’s important to be prepared when a prospective employer asks you your salary expectations or makes you an offer. Even if you are contentedly employed, it makes sense to know what you should (or could) be earning.

Review Salary Surveys

Start by reviewing salary survey information. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a good place to start. The Occupational Outlook Handbook includes national and state wage projections and data for seven major occupational divisions which include hundreds of occupations.

Focused salary survey information delineated by industry and job function is available online. Review several surveys to get an overall perspective of the career field you’re interested in. Keep in mind that the cost-of-living varies widely throughout the country. If you earned $25,000 a year in Boulder, CO for example, you would need to earn $50,000 to live in New York City just to break even.

Enter some cities into’s Salary Calculator and you might be surprised at what you find out. It’s almost important to know what you need to make in order to pay your bills every month. Use this salary calculator, online cost-of-living analyses, and other compensation tools to determine how much that offer is actual worth. Then prepare to negotiate a salary both you, and your employer, will be comfortable with.

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