6 Effective Ways to Evaluate Your Salary Expectations Before a Job Search

By Chelsea Babin

If you’re about to being a job search for a new technical position but you aren’t sure what your salary expectations should look like, you’ve come to the right place! Use these 6 effective methods to determine the right place to set your salary expectations to reduce wasted time and land the right job a lot faster.

1. Ask the Experts: If you’re not sure where to start when setting your salary expectations, don’t be afraid to ask the experts! Technical recruiters (like our highly trained Search Executives) are immersed in the technical hiring process every day. They eat, breathe, and dream about this stuff so, if you’re lost and looking for a little guidance about reasonable salary expectations for someone with your skillset, experience, and job history, ask an expert like them!

2. Evaluate Your Added Value: If you’re constantly adding new skills and experience to your repertoire, you should factor the added value you’re brining into your job search. If your current company hasn’t offered you raises in the last year or two but you’ve been consistently adding new skills, technologies, experiences, and accomplishments to your resume, you’re in the position to reasonably expect anywhere from a $5,000-$15,000 salary jump, depending on how long it’s been since your last raise and how much skill value you’ve added.

3. Weigh the Importance of Perks: When setting your salary expectations, it’s important to weigh key benefits and perks that are often worth their weight in gold. Some people would kill to have work-life balance improving benefits like unlimited PTO, telecommuting, or flextime, and these perks may be worth accepting a salary on the lower end of their range. Others would only consider accepting a salary on the lower end of their range if there’s room for immediate or near immediate advancement, which would come with a raise. And some perks like annual bonuses, profit sharing, or a generous 401k match are literally dollars added to your pocket that won’t be factored into the salary number directly but still pack a hefty punch. Weigh the importance of these perks and whether they might change your salary expectations.

4. Location, Location, Location: A salary you would accept for a job where you have to commute an hour away or relocate to an area with a more expensive cost of living may not be the same as a salary you would accept for a job that is within walking distance of your current home in an area you adore. Don’t forget to factor in location, location, location!

5. Huge Leaps are Rare: It’s important to know that, while you can often find a company willing to pay you more than your current salary (particularly if your existing company is undervaluing you or hasn’t been offering annual raises), huge salary leaps are rare unless you’re climbing the career ladder. Switching from a mid-level position to a senior-level position during a job search is also a rare jump, as this usually occurs after a company has seen what you can do and offers you an internal promotion. If you’re expecting a huge salary leap, it may be time to reevaluate your expectations and look at the job search a little more realistically.

6. When the Right Opportunity Knocks: Whether you’re looking for the chance to grow and learn on the job, a job where you can work on all greenfield development, or a position at a company who is dedicated to giving back to the world, when the right opportunity knocks, you need to be able to recognize it. Some of these qualities are rare and hard to find. For a perfect and rare opportunity, you may be willing to accept a slightly lower salary than for a job that is a good fit for the time being, but not your ideal position. Picture what the perfect opportunity would look like and adjust your salary expectations accordingly.

Before you begin your job search, you should take some time to set your salary expectations and weigh them against these 6 key factors to make sure they’re realistic, thorough, and the right fit for you. Then, you can confidently begin your job search and land a great new technical position!