Take these four steps to figure out what you’re really worth.
We all have those moments in our career when we wonder if we’re getting paid what we deserve. We might even worry that we’re being taken advantage of. There are simple steps you can take to find out what people in similar positions are making, but it’s a bit more difficult to accurately determine your individual worth.
It’s never easy to look at your own work with an objective eye, but if you can step back and see yourself as others do, you’ll never have to wait on supervisors to give the official word about how you’re doing. By being proactive and carefully critiquing yourself on a regular basis, you’ll be better prepared to ask for a raise when you deserve it — and to improve your performance when you don’t.
Ready to get started? Take these four steps to figure out what you’re really worth.
1. Know your market.
Before you assess your own worth, you need a clear idea of what your peers are making. Use resources like Ladders’ Job Market Guides, Payscale and Glassdoor to find out what the average salary is in your field and region, and ask friends and close colleagues if they’re comfortable sharing how much they make. The range might be wide, but this gives you a general figure to start with. Are you on the high end or the low? Maybe somewhere in between? Where do you want to be at this point in your career?
2. Assess your skill set.
Whether you’ve been working for six months or six years, you’ve probably (hopefully!) developed some skills you didn’t have when you started out. Now, how much are those skills really worth? Are they typical of workers in your field, or do they help you stand out from the crowd? Are they truly useful in your career, or are they just something else to put on your resume? Pinpoint those skills that really reflect your proficiency and expertise — they’re the ones that can significantly impact your worth.
3. Consider your status.
Have you established yourself as an authority in your industry? If you left your current job today, do you think a competitor would scoop you up right away? If you feel confident that people outside of your own company are aware of your talent or would be impressed by it, that might make you more valuable to your current employer as well.
4. Pinpoint your problem areas.
What are your weaknesses? Where do you fall short of your peers? Recognize the areas where you need to improve, and try to figure out how significant those areas really are in the big picture. If your skills or experience are lacking in areas where your colleagues are excelling, it could mean you’re not as valuable as they are. The solution? Be honest about your shortcomings and do everything you can to improve them.
After spending some time pondering these questions, you will hopefully have a better understanding of your own value, allowing you to honestly determine whether or not you’re being paid what you’re worth. And if you’re not? Feel confident knowing that now you have the ammunition to demand what you deserve.
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