When you come to the question about salary expectation, on a job application, do you ponder over the question? You think asking too much scares them off and too little undervalues your skills. Are you hoping there is a magic number that satisfies your financial needs and an employer’s budget?
If a magic number exists, it will be found in the employer’s budget. As a potential employee it is unlikely you are privy to that number. So what can you do to help you decide? Research is your best option. Researching the job title through job bank websites and companies that employ the type of job you are considering are a great start.
It is a good idea to research the jobs you are applying for; duties, qualifications, education, and entry level salary and salary potential. The best place to start in Canada is at their website hrsdc.gc.ca. They also have a few tools that will help you identify funding opportunities or programs specific to your current situation.
Monster.com and Workopolis produce a wealth of information that will be useful for your research. It is just a matter of navigating your way around the website. If you are concerned about spam or spyware it might be a good idea to produce an email for the purpose of setting up website accounts.
Call a company or organization that employs the kind of job you want, if possible, talk to the person who holds that title. People feel uncomfortable talking financials, especially over the phone. Therefore, you will get a better response if you ask, what they would put in the salary expectation’s box, if they were just starting out. Asking an immediate supervisor may also provide some insight into salary expectations.
Putting a dollar figure on your set of skills is not just about education and/or experience although both play an important part. You need to consider the consequences if your number is too low or too high.
Devaluing or discounting your services can imply that your work is not up to par. You would wonder what was wrong with a Rolodex if it was being sold for $20.00. Your work may be viewed as a knock off. Determining your worth is a time for soul searching. If your work is a Rolodex then you need to charge Rolodex prices. However, if Timex is more your speed it will be lost on your discounted price.
Pricing to high you run the risk of scaring off potential employers. There is also an expectation when pricing high, our watch analogy will suffice, imagine paying for a Rolodex and receiving a Timex. The Timex works great but its’ not a Rolodex.
Writing “negotiable” on the application is a good idea, however, going into the job interview you should have a starting number in mind. Determining a dollar value for your skills set is determined through your level of experience, education and specialization. Researching websites like Canada’s HRSDC and Monster.com are a great place to start. If you price too low you run the risk of undervaluing your work and pricing too high may put unwarranted expectations on the job.
Be sure to always value yourself and others will follow suit. Happy job hunting!