One Way to Figure Out Your Value? Get an Offer From Another Company
If you’ve been in your current job for a few years, you might not feel the same way about your salary as you did when you first took on the role. Honestly, it might even be a little south of where you’d like it to be, or your last salary bump might have been underwhelming compared to the many responsibilities of your role now.
Well, there’s one key way to understand your value in the marketplace and potentially achieve the hike you desire: shop your experience elsewhere.
Jump In…the Job Market Is (More than) Fine
With the current unemployment rate at 4.5%, experts agree it’s a job seeker’s market, and the potential for a salary hike obtained by switching jobs is at its best level in years. It’s not at all unusual for qualified professionals to see pay increases of 10-20%. If you’re looking to plot your optimum job trajectory, now’s the perfect time to take advantage of a robust job market and see what another company will offer.
One of the advantages of looking elsewhere is that you’re in control. You can target the salary range you want while maintaining the security of your current job—and the fact that you have a job is a big plus to prospective employers. Keep in mind though, that job hopping for salary only shouldn’t be your main objective when thinking of a long-term career strategy.
Know the Right Time to Move On
Timing plays a major role in just how much a job switch can boost your salary. If you’ve been with your current employer for two years or less, your experience will typically be a little too lean to command much more money than what you’re making now.
A recent survey revealed that the best salary bumps for job switchers typically occur after they’ve been at their current company for three to five years. The average raise for those employees is a healthy 8.3%. Those with six to nine years at one company achieve an average 6% bump by moving to another. Interestingly, those with less than two or more than 10 years tenure with their current employer are in the same boat: Jumping to another company will only garner them a raise of about 2-3%.
So, there really is a “sweet spot” when it comes to moving on to make more. If you’re looking to boost your salary, you won’t want to delay past your maximum marketability level. If you’re currently in that three- to five-year window with your current employer, it may be the best time to explore your options—or to throw out some hooks, get some bites, and see if your current employer is willing to cast a net to keep you.
Step Up Your Game
Being an active job seeker isn’t an automatic ride to big bucks. If you want a better job with higher pay, be prepared to step up your game. Spruce up that resume, and tell a compelling story about how your skills and experience will serve to enhance the goals of a prospective employer. Use social media and professional connections to position yourself to interview for the most desirable jobs in your field.
When it comes time to talk salary, know how to negotiate. Go into job interviews fully armed with knowledge about what people in your position and with your experience are being paid. Be assertive and confident about your value. A company that really wants to hire you will likely be receptive to boosting its initial offer.
Testing the Waters
It certainly doesn’t hurt to test the waters, even if you happen to love your current job and aren’t sure about switching. You might be surprised to find other job environments that will suit you just as well—or better—than your current situation with the added satisfaction of commanding a bigger salary.
On that note, if you opt not to move on, at least you’ll have some solid intel about the salary you could command elsewhere. That’s valuable information to leverage when sitting down with your current manager to discuss your next raise.