WorkWise Q&A: How can I find out salary expectations?

culp@workwise.netSeptember 1, 2013 


Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I’m searching in a new field. I don’t know anyone at my level in organizations who could tell me what to expect for a salary and I don’t know how to find out.


A: Dear Lost, Although many job seekers maintain that they have to earn a certain amount of money, you need to find out how employers compensate the work you want to do. That’s the difference between having a marketing mentality in your job search and being self-oriented.

Dig around for this information. While it’s available online, your local market might pay more or less than what you find. The best way to pinpoint a range is to find a sympathetic ear at a trade or professional association, particularly a person in an organization not likely to hire you, or at a conference. Check with people who’d likely hire for your occupation in your preferred department(s) and HR.

Because you’re changing fields. develop a list of reasons for the compensation you want. Make those reasons, based on results and interpersonal skills, stand out so much that you’d even shine over a person being promoted into that position.



Q: Dear Dr. Culp, I’ve been in an extremely uncomfortable situation with my company for about six weeks. My job is based on funding, which has been renewed. While I’ve had several conversations with my supervisor, I feel as if we’re parrying, with no resolution. It’s as if he’s waiting for me to resign.

I need the job and I like it. There haven’t been poor performance reviews. Another opportunity has come up, one I want to take, but I’d like to maintain my current relationship for when the work is slow in the new job. What should I do?


A: Dear Fencing, If you truly feel you are, find a way to make it stop. Is there another person you could discuss the situation with in your company? If there isn’t, sit down with your supervisor rather than catch him on the fly. Speak directly about how pleased you are that funding came through and that you’d like to discuss what you’ll be doing.

Ask questions that require specific answers, such as, “Does this mean XYZ?” Repeat if necessary. Keep your personal tension to yourself.


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