Are you looking for a new job? Think you’re being underpaid at your current job? Either way, you should take action to make sure that you’re getting the salary you deserve. But that’s easier said than done. How do you know the right amount, and how do you ask for it?

We’re here to help. Keep reading for the best tips on how to determine salary (and how to get it).


How to Determine Salary

If you’re in the dark about how much to ask for, you’re not alone. Of course, it’s always going to vary based on your individual situation, but here are some strategies to help you get an idea of your ballpark salary.

Online Tools

Online tools are a valuable retarget when it comes to finding out how much to ask for a salary.

Online salary tools let you input your job title and location, then give you a number (or several) that lets you know what others in the field are earning.

Check websites like and cross-reference them against other websites to get the most accurate results.

Ask Around

If you are comfortable enough with your co-workers, try asking them how much they make. As time goes on, the social “rules” that prevent us from talking about money become less and less pertinent.

If you still don’t want to ask, consider asking them how much someone in your position should make, in their professional opinion.

If you’d prefer to go completely anonymous, try asking on online forums.

Evaluate Your Skills and Accomplishments

While your coworkers’ and peers’ salaries might provide some valuable insight, it’s going to come down to your own skills and accomplishments in the end.

You’ve worked hard. Any degrees, awards, etc. that you’ve earned should factor into your salary.

For example, degree-holders earn upwards of $20,000 more per year than non-degree holders. If you don’t have a degree, then you can leverage certificates, published works, and other achievements in a similar way.


How to Get That Salary

Once you’ve got the ideal number in your head, it’s time to go out and get it. This step can be a little nerve-wracking for anyone. Follow these steps to get what you deserve while remaining cool as a cucumber.


You need to come up with a few numbers in your head.

The first should be the highest number: a salary that might be attainable, but probably not. Then, a middle-ground number that you would still be happy with.

Finally, your “walk-away” number. This is the lowest number that you would be comfortable with. Anything lower, and you walk away.

Never start with your walk-away number. Always start high and allow the other party to talk you down. That way, you’re not leaving any money on the table.

Click here for a handy infographic with more info on preparing for salary negotiations.

Additionally, if you receive multiple offers from different companies, you might try using any higher offers as leverage at a job you want. To get an edge while interviewing, use these free creative resume templates.

Consider Benefits and Vacation Time

If the hiring manager is not in a position to offer you the kind of money you want, consider negotiating for other advantages.

Many employees get health benefits from their employers. If health insurance is a big factor for you, you could always try asking for better benefits.

Or, try asking for more vacation time. This can relieve stress, give you more time with your family, and allow you to travel!


Get What You Deserve

Being underpaid can end up causing a lot of problems in your professional life. But knowing how to determine salary can prevent that.

Don’t have an interview yet? CareerBright can help with our job search page!