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Value Your Worth: How to Get the Most From Your Job Search

Lendstart Updated: June 27, 2023 • 8 min read
job interview questions

In these times of economic uncertainty, taking a strategic approach to your job search is vital to landing a new position and maximizing your total salary package. 

Whether you've been affected by layoffs or are a new college graduate, adopting a strategic mindset can help you navigate the job market effectively. Let's delve into how knowing your worth in the job search can help you negotiate competitive offers and secure a position that aligns with your short and long-term career goals. 

Why It's Important to Know Which Salary to Expect

To begin your quest to get a better job, it's helpful to research the current salary ranges for similar positions in your area and those of comparable employers. Why?

  • Save time: Once you know the expected salary for a particular type of position, you'll better understand whether or not a potential job offer is worth your time applying to, let alone accepting. 
  • Prepare for negotiations: Even if the salary you've researched is lower than what you're looking for, most employers are prepared to negotiate salaries and benefits packages. Knowing what to expect might give you leverage during conversations with hiring managers about compensation.
  • Know the landscape: Given recent layoffs due to the economic climate, more than one person may have held the position you’re currently pursuing. If you're expected to handle the workload of two or even three people, it's possible you may be able to negotiate for a higher salary. 
  • Prevent discrimination: Researching the salary ranges for your position in advance can help ensure you're not being discriminated against based on your race, age, religion and more.

how to know salary expectations

Introducing Pay Transparency Laws: A Tool for Job-Seeking Success

As a prospective employee, it's important for you to be aware of the increasing emphasis on pay transparency in the workplace. Many jurisdictions have implemented Pay Transparency Laws, which demand that employers disclose salaries to both existing workers and job candidates. That means that if you come across a specific position in one of the states observing pay transparency, you should be able to see a salary range for the role. 

Pay Transparency Requirements 

Currently, in eight US states, employers with 15 or more employees are legally obligated to comply with certain pay transparency requirements. Those states are:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington

The key requirements of Pay Transparency Laws include:

  • Disclosure of salary ranges: This means that you as a job candidate and existing employees have the right to know the salary range associated with a particular position. 
  • File annual reports that disclose wages: These reports provide transparency on the compensation practices within the organization, ensuring pay disparities and inequalities are identified and addressed.
  • Post wage ranges externally in job listings: This requirement aims to increase transparency in the hiring process and allow candidates to assess whether a position aligns with their salary expectations and career goals.

Remember, knowing a salary range for a specific position in advance can help you make more informed decisions about your career choices and negotiate fair compensation.

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Benefits of Pay Transparency Laws

Ultimately, Pay Transparency Laws benefit both you as a prospective employee and the employer. For employers, these laws promote equitable pay by providing transparency on salary ranges for specific positions. This allows employers to budget more accurately. It also makes it easier for them to ensure they offer competitive wages that attract top talent.

At the same time, these laws protect employees from wage discrimination based on gender, race, or religion. Each of these can plummet job satisfaction and the financial well-being of individuals and their families.

With access to accurate salary data, workers can better assess job offers for fairness and equity in addition to position duties. This improves the chances of employees receiving fair compensation for their work—a result that benefits everyone involved.

How to Position Yourself for a Higher-Paying Job

Now let's get into the details of how to get a high-paying job. These strategies to get paid more will help you maximize your total compensation package and have more success in your job search.

Know your market value

Remember, before you even start applying for jobs, take the time to research salary ranges for the job you want. If you do this, when a hiring manager offers you an amount, you will know if it's fair and equitable for comparable positions in the market. It also gives you an idea of how much money to ask for when negotiating benefits or other aspects of your job offer.

One way to research salary ranges is by using a salary comparison website such as Glassdoor or PayScale. 

These sites can provide you with an overview of:

  • How much money people in your field typically make
  • The average for different parts of the country
  • City-level breakdowns

Research the financial health of the companies you're applying to

Companies doing well financially may be more likely to invest in higher salaries, bonuses, and other compensation structures. During the application process, monitor their financial performance and use it to your advantage when negotiating salary.

If you're applying to work at a publicly-traded company, it's worth taking some time to look at their latest quarterly earnings report and other information about their current financial standing before committing to a job offer from them. If they're in the process of filing for bankruptcy, merging with another company, or have had consistently poor earnings, it may have an impact on the salary package they're willing to offer you. 


Don't focus on barriers to entry

Once you have a good understanding of what your position should pay, don't let yourself become discouraged by barriers listed on the job description, such as minimum years of experience in the field.

Traditional qualifications like education, certifications, and experience may still matter to employers. But they are not the only factor. Many job postings list several skills desired, so use this knowledge to your advantage. Highlight your unique combination of experiences that will make you an excellent fit for the role.

Don't underestimate the value of transferable skills either—these qualities can help you stand out from other applicants and demonstrate your potential as an asset to the organization.

Show off your skills and experience through your resume and cover letter, explain why you believe this is an ideal role, and highlight any certifications or qualifications that might set you apart from the competition.

Expand your skill set

Speaking of showing off your skills, take advantage of free, low-cost courses to expand your skill set. Professional certifications, online training, and other credentials can help you stand out against other applicants—as long as they are relevant to the job you're applying for.

To help you get the most out of these courses and ensure they help you get paid more, take the time to research which ones are in demand and will be beneficial for your job search. You can also network with people in your field or ask recruiters about potential certifications that might be valuable. Try to get a first-hand perspective from employers on what kind of skills and certifications they're looking for.

Brand yourself as an expert

Once you've got your qualifications in order, it's time to brand yourself as an expert in your field.

There are many ways to do this, including:

  • Having a strong LinkedIn presence
  • Showcasing examples of work on a portfolio website or blog
  • Using other digital marketing strategies like participating in forums or industry events

These moves can help you stand apart from the competition. They can also make it easier to establish relationships with potential employers. Then, this might lead to the difference between what makes good money and what keeps you stuck where you are.

Networking can also be beneficial for getting a higher-paying job. Try to connect with people who are in your field and have the experience and knowledge you need. You can:

  • Contact them via LinkedIn
  • Attend their events or webinars
  • Ask them for advice on best positioning yourself for success

If you can, participate in in-person meetings or book a couple of coffee chats to build relationships and learn more about the industry.

That brings us to our last tip.

Consult with people in your field

Our final tip to help you get a high-paying job is to consult with people in your field and at the company you're applying to. Ask them what qualifications they look for, how they determine salaries, and anything else that can help you better understand the hiring process.

how to know the salary to expect

Put Your Salary Research to Work in Job Interviews 

Once you've done thorough salary research and positioned yourself well for the desired position, you're ready to excel in the interview process and get a better job. Armed with knowledge about the expected salary ranges and compensation packages for similar roles (and the tips we've shared today), you can confidently navigate the discussion around salary during the interview.

Interview strategies

During the interview, showcase your skills, qualifications, and relevant experience that make you an ideal candidate for the job. Demonstrate your understanding of the company, its values, and its industry. This highlights how your skills align with their needs and contribute to their success. When you do this, you also impress the interviewer and establish yourself as a valuable asset to the organization.

Discussing salary in an interview

When the topic of salary comes up, approach it tactfully and professionally. But what exactly does that look like?

To start, you might use the salary research you have conducted as a foundation to support your negotiation and emphasize your value to the company. Then, articulate how your skills, experience, and achievements warrant a competitive compensation package. Focus on the value you can bring to the role and the positive impact you can make on the organization.

Consider your total compensation package as a whole

Of course, you'll want to prepare yourself to discuss the base salary. It's also helpful, however, to cover other elements of the compensation package—for example, benefits, bonuses, stock options, or additional perks. 

Highlight any relevant certifications, additional qualifications, or specialized skills that may justify a higher compensation level. By presenting a well-rounded case for your worth, you increase your chances of securing a favorable salary package.

Get comfortable with negotiating

Remember, negotiating salary is a normal part of the job search process. Many of us are conditioned to accept the first offer or feel as though that's our only shot. But employers expect candidates to negotiate and advocate for themselves.

Approach the negotiation confidently and professionally and maintain a positive and collaborative tone throughout the conversation. Be open to constructive dialogue and consider the employer's perspective while you advocate for your best interests.


When you combine your well-researched salary expectations with your impressive qualifications and interview performance, you position yourself as a strong candidate—one who is not only knowledgeable but also confident in negotiating a fair and competitive salary.

With the right preparation and mindset, you can ace your interviews! This helps you get a high-paying job with a compensation package that reflects your value and expertise. 

Lendstart aims to simplify complicated topics in the personal finance field. Gain insight from our thought leaders, seasoned industry experts, who strive to provide timely and practical information on current market trends.