3 Steps to Determining Your Value

Know Your Value“Let me say it again: You are not prepared unless you know the market value of your contributions. I can’t stress this enough. Why is it such a big secret? Seriously. What are you worth? What I’ve learned is, you should constantly be asking people about salary. Really wrap your arms around what work is worth what, The more you talk to people and the closer you get to them, the more they will tell you. Go ahead ask.” Mika Brzezinski Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You’re Worth

Women are often told that they need to do a better job negotiating their level of compensation. The advice often leaves out a critical first step in the process.
First you have to know what you are worth. Here’s a process for figuring that out:

1. Make a list of all the questions you have about compensation. Be prepared to describe what you do, your prior experiences, skill set, contributions, education, similar positions at other firms, as well as your career aspirations. Figure out what you want to know about salaries, bonuses, benefits, and other compensation-related matters.

2. Ask someone or a few people you can trust. Do you have a mentor or a sponsor with who you could begin a conversation about compensation? If so, that would be a great place to start. Additionally, you could use Facebook and LinkedIn query people who would be knowledgeable about an appropriate salary range for your type of position. Another approach that we have written about here at The Way Women Work, is to compare notes with a peer. If no one comes to mind, ask people in business whom you respect or admire to connect you to someone who could be a good fit for you. Talk to both men and women. Try and find people in similar fields at various stages of career progression.

Invite the people you identify to have coffee with you and talk. Be sure you are prepared and be specific with your questions. Don’t be shy about it. Likely the person you are asking has been in the same situation you are currently in. A helpful approach recommended by Amy Gallo at Harvard Business Review is to ask “What do you think an organization would pay for this type of position?”

3. Research. There are many great resources that can serve to inform you. The knowledge you gain will help encourage and strengthen your confidence. Do you have some favorite books or websites on which you rely? If you have recommendations, please share them in our comment section below. Here are a few online resources that can help you determine what people in similar positions in your field make:  Vault.com, Glassdoor.comPayscale.comSalary.com, Indeed.com. Here are a couple to help you figure out where you stand on the global pay scale: PayScale.com and BBC News Magazine.

So before you begin any sort of salary or compensation negotiation, first figure out the value of what you have to offer. Don’t rely on any one person or source. Rather, compare the guidance you are given and data you gather. Once empowered with a strong sense of your value, you will be prepared to ask for what you want. Be sure to follow back up and thank those who help you. We are waiting to hear what you find out!