Salary: Do you know what you are worth?
                               By Chelse Benham

“What you have become is the pric...
by identifying your true market value. Make your market value visible and have
the negotiation process pivot around it.

Step 3. If they continue to press the issue simply reply:

       “You are in a much better position to know how much I’m ...
•   The first thing to do is to evaluate your job description as it currently
       stands. See how it has progressed fro...
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Salary do you know what you are worth


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Salary do you know what you are worth

  1. 1. Salary: Do you know what you are worth? By Chelse Benham “What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.” - Mignon McLaughlin Imagine being paid for the work you do in salt. According to Katherine R. Bateman, author of “The Young Investor,” the first currency exchanged was salt. In ancient Rome, soldiers were paid in salt and the word in Latin – the language of the Romans– is sal. Therefore, when we refer to “salaries” we are using a word that originated from the word salt in ancient Rome. Today salt isn’t used as currency, the fabrication of money from precious metals to plastic credit cards have long since replaced the seasoning as an economic broker. However, whatever the accepted form of payment used, knowing what your skills are worth can ultimately determine and fix your salary. “Research is the most important piece of advice I can tell a student about the salary process. They can find out what to expect to be paid by a number of sources like the Census Bureau,” said Lourdes Servantes, placement specialist at The University of Texas-Pan American’s Career Placement Services Office. “Interested students can log onto and go to the personnel site and find classification and pay scale for just about any job that they are interested in. Or they can come to our offices.” According to the Noel Smith-Wenkle Salary Negotiations Method found at “salaries depend mainly on two things: the work and the geographical area.” Many companies utilize similar salary databases with detailed breakdowns on salary distribution, types of work and locales. They know what a job is worth, however companies have a clever means for underpaying the market rate and they help you do it for them. There is a slot on some applications that ask you to state what you would like to get paid. According to Wenkle, it is this line on an application form where most people hurt themselves by underestimating their worth. This clever little trick of asking you what you want to get paid generally helps companies in the long run. They win because they are underpaying you for the work that you’re doing and you’re happy about it because you got paid what you asked for. This situation illustrates the adage, “Be careful what you wish for.” To avoid making this mistake, the Wenkle negotiating method strictly advises never to state how much you’ll take. Leave the space blank. After you have proactively decided to leave the space blank, it is wise to learn how to negotiate from this point on. Start negotiating, before getting to the table,
  2. 2. by identifying your true market value. Make your market value visible and have the negotiation process pivot around it. “Do the research and go in knowing what the job pays and what you are worth,” Servantes said. “Employers have their best interests at heart and they may short- change your salary if you’re not prepared and you appear likely to take less.” Almost every day at work, we are faced with some type of negotiation. Not only must we negotiate for our salary, perks, benefits, title, office space and support staff, but daily issues involving our duties, the need for increased manpower, authority over projects, flexibility with clients, arrangements, communication or sharing of the workload with co-workers; all require a form of negotiation, which, if we fail to recognize, we will, in all probability, fail to win. Remember this - the only reason someone is negotiating with you is that you have a value which he or she wants. You’re at the negotiating table because you are of interest to the potential employer. You have something they want. The more you can make that value visible, and make the negotiation pivot around it, the stronger your position will be. One of the touchiest negotiations, which will shape much of your future, is about your salary and what benefits you will receive. If you negotiate a salary that you feel is low and does not significantly reflect what you do you may become bitter and resentful about your new job. So it is wise to bargain hard and smart. Your work life depends upon it. The Wenkle method suggests the following for optimum negotiating: • Before you begin negotiating, you must have a minimum salary figure in mind, but don’t tell the person hiring you that amount. • Force the company to be the first party to name a figure. If it’s above your minimum, you accept, unless you think you can ask for more. If it’s too low, you tell them it’s too low, but do not say by how much. You may be asking yourself, “How do I respond to questions about salary when I’m asked?” Wenkle provides three answers to help sidestep being forced to name your salary. The method suggests the following answers: Step 1. The first time they ask you how much you’ll take, reply: “I am much more interested in doing the (type of work) here at (name of company) than I am in the size of the initial offer.” Step 2. The second time they ask, reply: “I will consider any reasonable offer.”
  3. 3. Step 3. If they continue to press the issue simply reply: “You are in a much better position to know how much I’m worth to you than I am.” In “Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a minute” by Jack Chapman, there are some principles employers use to evaluate salary compensation. The following three principles affect your salary: Labor is intangible. There is no fixed price, but rather a range for a job position. Salary is directly proportional to the level of responsibility of the position. Salary is merely an indicator of the responsibility, the experience required to perform the job and the influence the performance of that job has on the company. Make me a buck. Either you make more for your employer than you cost, or you go. Negotiating salary doesn’t end when you finally land a job. Don’t wait for reviews and anniversaries to ask for an increase in salary or a promotion. An ideal time to ask for a raise and/or a promotion is during changes at work. Chapman suggests that you keep a list of job responsibilities. Mark each one down when you increase your responsibilities or when you were integral in the implementation of a project. Document your accomplishments and notice how your job has evolved. Sometimes this means creating a new job title to fit the new and growing list of responsibilities that you are now performing. If you have a human resources (HR) department, look to them for a list of job titles that include your new responsibilities. Find job descriptions that apply to you. If there are a couple of job descriptions that overlap, the HR department may be able to work with you to construct a hybrid job with a title most fitting to you. Ultimately, this new title will require that you ask for a reclassification and fair market pay for your work. It is best to go in a negotiation process well prepared by documenting the work you do with applicable examples. You are essentially defending the new job title and pay raise that you are seeking with the work you have already been doing. As your job responsibilities have evolved so has the value of your skills, thus it is reasonable to ask for a raise, a promotion or both, but there are things you should do to successfully achieve your goal. According to there are strategic steps to take to ensure getting to “yes” in the negotiating process. They outline the following process:
  4. 4. • The first thing to do is to evaluate your job description as it currently stands. See how it has progressed from where you began. • Next list your accomplishments. Look for accomplishments that have saved your employer money, such as finding a lower-cost vendor. Put a dollar value on your accomplishments. Documenting your undertakings and presenting them in financial terms clearly highlights your value in language a manager will understand. • Find out what others in comparable jobs are paid. Do your homework. Check professional associations, career magazines, classifieds, Internet sources such as U.S. Government Bureau of Labor Statistics and your own company human resource office may be of help. Get facts and figures. Use them appropriately when justifying your request for classification/pay change. • Decide on a realistic amount. Before you meet with your supervisor, develop a realistic objective. Be clear on the amount of the raise you are seeking. • After you establish your financial goal, make an appointment with your supervisor to discuss the salary objective. Minimize any surprises by giving your supervisor a written agenda before your meeting. This will give your supervisor time to prepare for the meeting and allows you to focus on the business at hand. • Be sensitive to your supervisor's perspective. She/he has budget constraints to deal with and may have to take your request to a higher authority or you may have to wait for a new budget to take effect. • Give your supervisor ammunition. Make it easy for your supervisor to argue your case with the appropriate authorities. Prepare well-written, concise documentation. Even if you may not be able to get a raise, perhaps an award or bonus may be available based on your accomplishments and cost saving activities. The workplace is a competitive environment with people vying for positions and promotions. You have to stand out and create a compelling case for the work you do and the contribution it makes to the company. It’s silly to think you’ll walk in and “wing it” or bat your lashes and poof! it will magically appear. Not unlike all the hard work that you have done, negotiating salary, job positions and promotions require the same preparation and demonstration of your skills. This is when those accomplishments get placed under a microscope and are scrutinized by people able to grant your wish. Wouldn’t it be prudent to make it easy on them? Don’t miss the opportunity to move up the ladder because you decided not to take the right steps. “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret to success.” – Henry Ford