Why You Need To Know Your Value In The Marketplace
As long as the concept of a job has existed, the definition around what you can do to earn a living and salary has been defined by others using a process that has been the same for decades. Your salary options are limited by the parameters of a job description: a definition that consists of a job title, a list of tasks to be performed, and the skills, experience, and personality traits needed to perform those tasks successfully.
So How Much Can You Get Paid?
There is a salary range for that job description. It is a number based on the skills and experience required balanced against the budget the firm has to fill the position. The budget may or may not reflect the realities of the marketplace or the value of the contribution the employee will actually make to the company.
There are unwritten rules around salary increases when you change positions or move to a new firm. What you are making now is factored in to what you will be offered because no company wants to pay you more than they have to in order to bring you on board or promote you, no matter what the job is worth. If you are making $70,000 as an example and the range for the job you apply for is $85,000 – $100,000, you will probably be offered $75,000, $80,000 if you are lucky, because someone, somewhere decided it wasn’t healthy to get too large a salary bump at one time. Again, someone else deciding what your talent is worth based on outdated thinking. You probably won’t notice because you will be thrilled to get a long-overdue increase.
What Are Your Skills and Experiences Worth?
But to increase your earning power, you need to develop the ability to take a new view of yourself. You must understand the value you bring to the marketplace and how to communicate it to a prospective employer, even one in your own company, in a compelling way that will impact their thinking about you. It requires that you begin to think of yourself as a “product” and your skills and experience in terms of the results you bring to solve problems or create new innovations. What problem needs to be solved? How much is it costing to leave it unsolved? How much will solving it increase revenue or cut expenses? Does the company want to solve it? Will they pay to solve it? Those are the questions you need to ask in order to understand the value of the results that you bring.
The paradigms around “the job” and “salary” have been around longer than you have. It is our acceptance, even dependence on these old paradigms and unwritten rules that are keeping earnings limited. The thinking has to change. The most important factor is the results. You must understand what the results you bring are worth and you must do research to find credible data that backs it up. Then you can negotiate for more from a place of knowledge and not just an arbitrary number we call salary. If the problem you can solve is big enough, expensive enough, and painful enough, your company will hire someone to solve it. That someone might as well be you. But you will have to be prepared to show the business case for why you are the solution.
Nancy O’Keefe, MBA,, MS is a Leaderhip Coach, Speaker, and Author of the book “Unlimited Talent: What Every CEO Needs To Know To Win The Workforce War”. She works with business people facing business or career uncertainty to get clarity of purpose and certainty on their next steps so they can change their business life to align with who they are and what they want. She is a thought leader in strategy, leadership, and cultivating talent. She can be found at https://nancyokeefecoaching.com