Here's the article I wrote for the Career Experts Group April 2023 newsletter. Enjoy!
Salary.com is a very useful tool, for three reasons. First, it helps people get an idea of "the going rate" for jobs in their area. Second, it suggests alternate titles for jobs that a seeker might pursue, and gives an excellent description of the jobs—suggesting keywords that can be used in resumes and on LinkedIn profiles to attract recruiter attention. Finally, it expands a person's knowledge of what the true financial impact is in the benefits package. For all of these reasons, job seekers should do some research on this website.
What's the Going Rate?
Let's say you are applying for positions in project management. To be ready for the question, "What are you looking to make?" you want to do some research so that you can give a realistic salary range. You go to Salary.com and in the box on the right you enter the job title, Project Manager and the city closest to where you want to work. Then hit the "Get my salary estimate" button. As you scroll down (ignore the sponsored content), you'll see several job titles relating to project management: Project Manager-Construction, Project Accounting Manager, Technology Project Manager, etc. Click on a title (or two or three) and read the job description. Sound like you? How many of the keywords and phrases are in your resume and LinkedIn profile?
What Else Should I Be Looking For?
Once you have determined that a job title matches what you are looking for career-wise, click on
the Benefits button. Here is where you see the actual cost to the employer for the position. In this example, an IT Project Manager V position paying a salary of $152,221 costs the employer $182,536.
Here you'll get a breakdown on what is included in addition to pay: healthcare, 401K, time off, bonuses, etc. Where it says "others" companies might cover the cost of professional development each year, or the cost of your membership in various organizations.
What's Else Should I Be Asking For?
When you have received an offer and it's time to negotiate, think about the total benefits package. If the employer cannot go higher on the salary, maybe they can give you more time off, cover educational opportunities, etc. Your total compensation is more than just your pay.
Preparation is key to a positive job search outcome. Using Salary.com will give you a greater feeling of confidence in the process.