At some point during your job search process, you will likely run into a question related to your salary expectations. You may see it on a job application where an organization may ask, “What salary range are you looking for?” Or you may be asked during an interview, “What are your salary expectations?”
No matter where you encounter this question, it often poses a challenge for job seekers. What do you say? If you quote a figure that is too high, will you price yourself out of a job? If you quote a figure too low, will you be selling yourself short?
One of the keys to successfully handing this question is to do your research during your job search process. Career & Leadership Development has several resources available to assist you:
- UW-W Placement and Salaries – This link provides you with data about the average salary and placement rates for UW-W graduates.
- National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Salary Calculator – The NACE Salary Calculator will allow you to research salary data for the occupation and region in which you are seeking employment.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics – The Bureau of Labor Statistics is part of the U.S. Department of Labor and publishes a great deal of information about wages and benefits.
As you review the salary information, keep a few things in mind. First, some employers offer very little room to negotiate salaries for entry-level positions. Be sure to set realistic expectations for yourself and establish a budget to determine what you need to make.
Second, when considering your future earnings, remember to account for other variables including the benefits that may be offered by the employer and the cost of living associated with the geographic location of the job.
By utilizing this information, you will be better prepared to handle the salary question. You may choose to tell the employer that your salary expectations are negotiable or that you are interested in learning more about the benefits program to get a complete picture on the total compensation offered by the organization.
If you do quote a salary figure, be sure to justify your response based on the research you have conducted, and cite your sources!
If you would like additional assistance regarding how to handle salary questions, or assistance with job searching and interviewing in general, schedule an appointment with a member of the Career & Leadership Development team.
Photo by Andrew Magill.