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Your Career Plan for 2014 – Part 4

Your Career Plan for 2014 – Part 4: Determine what you’re worth
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We have clients all the time coming to us asking what they are worth in the marketplace. My client Nancy in California asked me this several weeks ago, wanting to understand the salary she could and should expect and ask for. Now that she has been in the job search for about a month, done her homework and had a few interviews, she has a clearer sense of it. Here’s what I suggest you do to help you understand your value in the marketplace whether you are in active job search mode or not.

First, understand you are not going to come up with one magic number that is exact and very specific down the penny. That is just not possible or realistic. Your value or salary can vary according to so many factors – your location, your skill set, whether you are targeting large or small organizations, or whether you are looking to work in the private sector, government or non-profit world. So keep that in mind getting started.

Do your homework. Use the salary sites out there first to get a range. Keep in mind you most likely will get a relatively large range on some of the sites like,,,, and – all of which provide salary research. I would use all of them. Track your findings in a worksheet.

Look on LinkedIn. Review the profiles of professionals in your field, conducting a broad search first (anyone who does something similar to what you do, or want to do, *in your location* but at any level and within the private and non profit or government sectors). This will give you a general sense of who’s out there and what their background is. You are looking on LinkedIn to determine the skill set, experience, and education level of your peers in a broad sense. Next, narrow your search. Find people that do exactly what you want to do, or close to it – within the right sector, according to the size of the organization and the level you are pursuing (director, manager, associate etc.)

Finally conduct interviews – formal and informational as well. Contact recruiters in your area to find out what they see as your worth and salary range to target. When you speak to colleagues and friends in informational interviews, ask them what they think (handling this professionally and tactfully). And as you apply and conduct actual interviews for jobs, you will learn as you go what’s realistic to ask for.

Hallie Crawford
Career Coach

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