How Much Am I Worth? – 5 Ways to Figure It Out

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What is the answer to the question – “How Much Am I Worth?” Find out the salary you deserve.

Salary is a Sticky Issue

"So, what are you looking to be paid?"

It's always a sticking point during an interview. When a hiring manager asks you what your salary requirements are, it can be difficult to answer. Ask for too much, and you could end up pricing yourself right out of the job. Venture too little and you might be seen as less than confident in your capabilities (and also not get the salary you deserve).

To get this right, you need to be proactive and take intelligent steps toward making sure you get a reasonable salary that meets your needs and allows you to still look at yourself in the mirror at the end of each day. Here's how you can do it.

5. Do an Online Search

When you're building a new house, you need to do your homework before construction and make sure all the plans are correct. Negotiating salary is no different.

So, you need to plan. In this case, that means researching comparable salaries. Now, no one wants to be underpaid. But no one wants to ask their peers what their annual salary is either, because that can get uncomfortable quickly. Luckily, you don't have to do that because these days it's super easy to figure out what people in your industry are making. Salary.com's Salary Wizard offers pay ranges regarding more than 4,000 job titles for almost every industry. This will help you establish a range of what you could be worth and what you should ask for.

Never go into a salary negotiation blind and unarmed without research. Always have the answer to the questions – How much am I worth? And what salary I should ask for?

4. Factor in Experience

A range is simply that, a range. What makes the scale slide in your favor are the other factors you bring to the hiring table.

For example, your past work experience (especially how it relates to the position that you're applying for) can give you an added advantage when you're a job seeker. Even if you've had a gap in employment, try to incorporate any volunteer work, educational classes you've taken that pertain to the job, and (if you're a parent) even the important skills you picked up during your time off. All of this information can help you avoid being underpaid.

3. Factor in Your Flexibility

Let's say that you are willing to relocate to Beijing for six months for your job. Or you're amenable to working a graveyard shift that no one else wants.

Being flexible counts in your favor when you're looking for work. Not only does it make you worth more to a hiring manager looking to find a candidate for a particularly tricky job opening, but it does keep you from getting underpaid because it sets you apart from the other candidates.

2. Factor in Location

When looking for work, your location can help (or hurt) you.

If you live too far from an in-office position, you might be at a disadvantage to someone who lives nearby. And if you live in a rural area -- as opposed to a more urban city -- the salary offered might reflect that. That's why it's important to factor in the cost of living and compare that to the salary you're being offered when weighing your options and figuring out how much money you should be seeking.

Of course, if you telecommute, you have the added advantage of being able to work anywhere which allows more flexibility.

1. Get Educated

Depending on your profession, having certain degrees can definitely bolster your earnings potential. Be sure to mention any extra licenses or certifications you have earned, as those can become a powerful bargaining chip when applying for -- and negotiating -- your salary requirements.

Also, if education is important to you and your company offers a generous tuition reimbursement package, you might consider a lower base salary in exchange for the opportunity to go back to school to earn a degree.

The Key to Victory is Knowledge

The key to not being underpaid is knowing – how much am I worth?. So once you've added up all the factors (from education to location) that make you a top candidate, have the confidence to ask for what you truly want -- because you it.

Let Salary.com Help You

The first thing you should do is research, so you're able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what's a fair salary for your position. This will help you to answer – "what salary should I ask for”? You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

Good luck.

How much are you worth?

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