An employer has asked, either on the job application or at the interview, what your salary expectations are. This is a tricky question and one that involves serious consideration. Give a number too low and the employer will wonder why you are worth so little, but give a number too high and they may consider you too expensive and not even offer the job. To determine what a realistic salary is for you, follow these tips:
- Research salaries in your specific field and location. Keep in mind wages will vary based on region and experience level. Look at different job postings that match what you are looking for, and find the average salary ranges for your industry. Try a website like www.canadavisa.com to search the average pay for your chosen job.
- When asked for what salary you expect, provide a range based on this research, your unique skills and experience, your career goals and your previous job’s salary (if in the same field). If you have a hard-to-find skill that the employer needs, you can ask for a higher salary than if you are applying for a more general position in the same field.
- Now that you have decided what salary range you want, determine the lowest pay you will accept. Base this number on your living expenses, your career goals and your lifestyle.
If you are in a position where you are able to negotiate your salary, here are some tips to get the number you want:
- You may have to compromise on your salary expectations, but remember that just because a company can’t pay top dollar, doesn’t mean it can’t offer value. Think benefits, perks, experience, opportunities and new skills, not just take-home pay. Ask about benefits such as health, dental, travel allowance, time off, cell phone, tuition assistance, etc. Sometimes the benefits a company offers make up for a lower salary.
- Try to avoid giving an exact number for as long as possible. Ask the employer what they have in mind for the position, or if necessary give a range based on your own research. If you must give an exact number make sure it is one you can live with and commit to.
- Don’t talk about why you need the money (mortgage, kids, bills, debts…), instead, talk about the value you will bring to the company and how you will earn the money. Focus on how you will benefit the company with your unique skills and experience, not on the new car you want.
- Know your worth and argue your case, but unless you are willing to walk away from the job, don’t be so pushy that you push the employer away.
- Finally, recognize that being able to discuss your salary is another opportunity to show how you will be a positive and valuable asset to the company. Stay calm and optimistic.
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