What's the right salary for me

For the luckiest among us, work is something we love doing every day. For most, however, it is the pursuit of money that keeps us at our jobs.

Even if you love your job, salary is an important factor. Money can be reason enough to leave one position for another, just as a raise can provide a convincing argument to stay in your current job.

But how do you figure out the right salary for your job, and how do you answer that difficult interview question: “What were you hoping for in terms of salary?”

Companies set salaries based on a number of varying factors, and it can be difficult for an outsider to anticipate what these might be. Although the base salary is often set by the broader industry (i.e. Company A pays their receptionist a particular wage because it’s what Company B pays for the same position), the final salary can be influenced in many ways.

Factors could include:

  • How much experience have you had?
  • What additional duties are required of the position?
  • Has superannuation been included in the salary?
  • Are longer working hours required?
  • Is there a commission applicable to the position?
  • Demand for employees - are there more positions than applicants in the market? Or vice versa?
  • Company policy
  • Education and training
  • Benefits; is a car included? Travel costs? Accommodation?

In most cases, a salary is set when you apply for a job. A lower advertised salary may mean you need to assess your desire to work for the company against your living costs, while a higher salary will likely increase the competition for the job.

The most important thing for you as a job seeker is to have a clear idea of your expectations and requirements. What is the minimum salary you can afford to accept.

In some instances, you may be happy to take a pay cut when changing employers or positions. Perhaps it is a more desirable company to work for, or closer to home, or with better benefits. Perhaps it will gain you experience in a short amount of time that you can subsequently use to demand a higher rate from future jobs.

The ISMYCV online resume builder allows you to set an ideal starting salary for your chosen profession. While setting this salary too high could limit your appearance in search results, it is important that you don’t set the salary below that which you would be willing to accept.

Remember that the power to accept a job remains in your hands. The same factors listed above that determine where a company sets a salary may affect your decision to accept the job. Perhaps the salary is lower but you are required to work fewer hours. Maybe the higher offered salary comes with reduced benefits.

When you’re looking to set your ideal salary, consider your personal circumstances and investigate the market standards. If a potential employer asks what your salary expectations are, feel free to discuss the factors influencing your decision with them.

And don’t sell yourself short. If you’ve asked for too much, they’ll tell you. You’re in the interview because they’re interested in you, and even if the applicant they saw before you has set a lower salary expectation, they may not have the experience to match yours.

ISMYCV makes employment easy. By setting your salary expectations as part of building your free online resume, your dream job, and your dream salary, come to you.