how much should you be making in your career?

I’m heading to Kansas City today for a 10-day training on a workout system called Gyrotonic. Yes, it has such an unfortunate name but the work is energizing, impactful, and complements my yoga instructor training from 2011.

There is never a good time to leave work for two weeks but it feels like a particularly challenging time because I’m hiring six new people at HealthPartners (my full-time job). The exciting part about this hiring process is there are two positions we have never hired before. Online research has been crucial to see what the typical compensation is and determine how much budget to request.

In my last post, the focus was on the financial mood of your organization and boss. There were key questions included to help you determine if the timing is right to ask for more. Perhaps you can already tell where I’m going with this today: the power of research in negotiating a new job, a raise, or a promotion.

Research can start within your organization by asking HR what your salary range is. This is often not advertised at an organization but most will give it out. This information is powerful and will show you if you're at the minimum, mid-point or close the maximum. I've used this information before to show a bell curve of where I am and how I should be at least at the mid-point based on positive feedback on my performance. 

Salary data is also readily available online for you to get sense of where you should be based on your role and experience. If you have an unusual title, determine a parallel role and use that for a benchmark. Here is a short list of my favorite sites for salary research: ComparablyPayscale, LinkedInGlassdoorGet Raised, and Salary.com. Rather than using only one of these sites, consult a few of them to get a sense for the salary ranges and average them out to get a sense for where you'd like to be. 

Online is your first step; offline is your second. This may take you out of your comfort zone but you will have a more comprehensive idea of what you should be making if you talk to others in a similar position. Have a friend at the organization you’re targeting for a new job? Ask her if she has an idea of the salary range for the position. If that feels too awkward, suggest a number to her and see if she finds it to be in the right range.

Make sure research is a step in your negotiation process. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to earn more.