How to Determine What You Are Worth

pink barcode tattoo

When a prospective employer asks you how much are you looking to be paid, do you know how to answer? How much you think you are worth can be an awkward topic to discuss with an employer during an interview. The conundrum—be over-zealous and ask for too high an amount, and you could be dismissed as a candidate for consideration. Asking for too little could get you the job, but you will end up getting paid a lower salary than you could have received. Also, by stating a lower amount than you’re worth, the hiring manager may reconsider you as a candidate because you may be perceived as not being self-confident. There are several steps that you can take to determine how much you are worth, and they will be addressed in this article.

See Also: How to Handle a Non-Negotiable Salary Offer

1. Research Online

In order to get an accurate account of what someone in your profession and with your skillset should be paid, you need to research online salary sites. In order to get an accurate account of what someone in your profession and with your skillset should be paid, you need to research online salary sites. When you do your online research, you will be able to find an accurate salary amount that you can feel comfortable in telling prospective employers. It is better to research salary amounts online, rather than discussing this issue with colleagues. Salary discussions are never an easy topic to discuss with your colleagues.


There are a variety of salary sites that you can check out such as Salary.com. This site is free to use and you simply input your pertinent information, such as location, years of experience, education level, etc. to allow the website to calculate your suitable salary. They offer information regarding the pay range for more than 4,000 career titles. PayScale.com is another free website to use when ascertaining your salary worth. They also offer a comprehensive database for any career research you need to complete.

2. Consider Your Experience

In addition to doing actual research online, you should evaluate your own specific work experience in your current career field. Finding the salary range through one of the online pay calculators will only provide you with a general range. However, it is important that you take this review process further and ascertain what sets you apart from other candidates with regard to your specific work experience.

If you were required to or voluntarily took part in any extracurricular volunteer work pertaining to your current employment that is one factor to consider in calculating your worth. For example, evaluate all of your workplace and career experience to come to an educated decision with regard to figuring out your salary worth.

3. Review Your Availability

This step may require more internal consideration because you need to review your current circumstances and ascertain your availability. For example, how flexible are you with regard to working hours? Are you able to uproot yourself (and family) and relocate to another state or country for work? How willing are you to work the 2 or 3 shifts rather than the normally preferred 1 shift?

If you are able to answer each of these questions in the affirmative, then your availability factor may increase your worth. Since not as many people can work in these conditions, individuals who are—hold much more value to employers. You can use this to your advantage by gently increasing your salary worth to suit the availability factor.

4. Review Your Location Factor

When considering how much you should be paid, it is necessary to review your location factor as well. For example, ascertain your location—telecommuting, urban living or rural living. For telecommuters, they work from the comfort of their home office (or anywhere in the world) and have a higher flexibility factor.

However, if you work in the city, your cost of living will be much higher than if you live in more rural or suburban areas. Ascertain how much your living location would impact your salary by also calculating any transportation costs you might have. Once you have carefully evaluated the situation, you can then ascertain how this factor affects your salary.

5. Consider Your Education

This final factor pertains to the specific education level that you have achieved. For example, if you completed an associate’s degree, your salary would increase from if you had only completed high school. Your salary worth increases if you completed a bachelor’s degree and then a doctorate’s degree as well.

Your salary worth is definitely commensurate with your education level. However, it is important to remember that education is not everything and as previously mentioned your work experience will also play an important role in ascertaining how much you are paid. Also, take into consideration, any extra college credits, certifications or licenses you’ve received.

See Also: How to Ensure You Are Paying Yourself Enough

Ascertaining how much you should be paid begins with becoming more informed and evaluating your current career status. Carefully consider each of the five factors discussed in this article and you will be better able to make an informed estimate concerning how much you should be paid.