Know Your Worth Before Negotiating Salary

Before going into a salary negotiation, it is critical to know exactly what you are worth. If you do not know what you are worth, then it is a shot in the dark when you ask for a raise or try to get the most in your next job.

You may end up letting the employer decide what your increase should be, and it may be disappointing to you. Millions of people negotiate for a higher salary, but not so many get the maximum increase in compensation that they could.


Research ahead of time is critical before approaching your boss for a raise, or before putting your foot forward in salary negotiations at job offer time. It is like a poker game. Do not reveal your cards too soon. In this case, your cards are personal secrets like how much you made in your last job, or how much money you’d like in the new job, or how much of an increase you’d like.

Know Your Worth Before Negotiating Salary

Before going into a salary negotiation, know what you are worth! If you are looking for a new job or are trying to ask for a raise, do salary research on the Internet first. There are great sites like or that aggregate all the salary information that is reported.

One challenge is determining the reliability of the source of information. If a resume website is reporting salary scales as indicated by their list of “job seekers,” it may not be as accurate as if the salaries are reported by the human resources of the firms that are seeking to recruit personnel.

Snoop on the company

Another option, if you are not afraid to ask, is to do a bit of snooping. If you know someone who works for the firm and are not afraid to ask, is to find out what other people are making in the same role for that company. If you know an HR person, even better, often, the word will be on the street, company XYZ pays well, or company ABC is relatively stingy when it comes to compensation. This information may also help.

Salary comparison is continuously made by human resources personal within companies and between companies as well. There are even research reports published by large consulting firms and human resource associations that share information openly about their hiring practice in their markets. If you can gain access to one of these reports, you have the “gold mine” of information you need.

Salary Ranges

Next, salary ranges are often reported based on percentiles. A business analyst salary range may be from $40,000-$80,000 for a given region, but the reporting will be based on 0-25%, 25-50%, 50-75%, and 75-100%. You know how well you perform at your job. Do a self-assessment, and figure where you feel you fit in the percentile of performance for that job level.

If you’re in a lower percentile, it may be that you’re new to the position. If you’re in a higher percentile, you’re a superstar with plenty of experience, and you know you add a lot of value. If you don’t honestly know, you might ask for some candid feedback from a trusted co-worker or a friend in a similar position elsewhere.

You must know the value of the skills you bring and be able to measure them in quantitative terms. That is the financial terms. Hard cash values resonate with employers. If you can say, “I saved the company $200,000 last year due to the efficiencies I implemented”, you’re on solid ground to justify your request a higher salary.”

Here are some interesting salaries: