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What is Your Salary Expectation?

What is your salary expectation?

You're here because you want to know how to answer the salary question, and hopefully, feel super confident when you do.

And that is exactly what this post is going to help you do.

If you are exploring a new opportunity, this is going to be a question that you need to answer for yourself at some point.

The Myth of Never Going First

I want to start off by tackling the biggest myth that is out there, and that is that you should never be the first one to state your number.

The reason why this myth is persistent is that most people don't actually know what they should be making. If they are the first to state their number, they either price themselves out of the running or they don't ask for nearly enough.

And either scenario ends up with you having the short end of the stick: either over-pricing yourself out of the opportunities you really wanted to totally lowballing yourself and being shortchanged on what you could have been making if only you hadn't have answered first.

The thing is, this fear is based on you NOT knowing what you should earn, and not knowing how to answer it.

So let's clear those things up, shall we...

What Salary Should I Ask For?

In order to answer this question, you need to know the obvious: what is your number?

The most important thing that you need to know, long before you're actually asked what your salary expectations are is what your salary expectation actually is.

I speak with way too many ambitious professionals who are kind of grasping at straws and feeling around in the dark in order to figure out what this number is.

They're basing it on what they think their friends are making, or what they're currently making right now, or what they think the market is doing based on some obscure information that they saw on Glassdoor.

One of the markers that's actually going to differentiate you as a candidate is going to know exactly what compensation you actually should be earning.

And yes, this is going to take a little bit of work for you to do.

When you're asking for the right amount for the value, skills and the experience that you're bringing to the table, the company is going to know that your request is perfectly reasonable - and it's going to be easy for you to get it.

Now this question is asked for a whole bunch of obvious reasons during the interview process, which includes making sure that candidates that are being considered for an opportunity are actually candidates that the company could hire (i.e. they need know they can affort you).

And this works out very well for you , because it makes sure that as you actually progressed through the process that you're not going to get to the very end and find out that their $50,000 below what your actual expectation is.

There are a lot of places where you can go in order to find what your salary should be - at least in theory.

In fact, if you want to try this out, head over to Google right now, put your job title as well as your and salary expectation, and it is going to come up with a whole bunch of different results. It's highly likely those results are actually all over the place.

And this is one of the things that people actually really struggle with to determine what their number actually should be.

In short, this isn't the best way to find out conclusively what salary you can expect for your role in your market.

Plus, when you're looking at user-provided data, it's going to be skewed - people will over-report their earnings, and under-report. It's not to say this information shouldn't be used, it just needs to be used with the right processes in place to make sure you end up asking for the right number

This post would quickly turn into a novel (rivetting though it would be) if I deep dove here into how to discover your salary benchmarks... but that it what masterclasses are for (psst, I have one coming soon - stay tuned).

Now, once you know your number, it's time for you to move into the actual process of asking for your number.

How to Discuss Salary Across the Job Search Process

There is no silver bullet on how to approach the discussion of your compensation expectations across the journey - it largely depends on where you are in the process.

So let's break it down based on where in the journey you may be: