How to Know How Much Salary to Ask For

August 9, 2017

You’re searching for a new job, but you have been in your current position for so long that you’re not sure how much salary to ask for in the job search. You have a suspicion that you could be earning a lot more, but you’re not exactly sure.

Does that sound familiar?

There’s no need to wonder how much salary to ask for on a new job search. There are online sources that provide salary guides to help you. Many are so specific that they can tell you the salary range based on your specific job title, years of experience, and geographic location.

Here are some of those salary guides.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is an agency of the US government, and they compile salary information based on hard statistics. You can use the BLS website to research salary information on just about any major career field that exists.

You can begin your search at the Occupational Employment Statistics page, which provides a long list of general employment categories. Click on any of the category links, you will get not only salary information but also the number of jobs available in that field nationally, as well as the outlook for the field.

You could also make a specific search on the Occupational Outlook Handbook, where you can find much the same information, but through a custom search on a very specific job classification. has become one of the go-to online sources for salary information. It’s actually a two-way system, in that not only do you go there to get salary information, but you also share your own information.

Payscale uses a survey system. To get the salary information that you want, you first have to complete the survey. This is obviously an attempt to get you into some sort of a database, which has become very common with all different types of sites these days. But it also enables the site to gather very specific information about you, so that they can provide you with the most accurate salary information.

The survey is actually quite involved, covering several pages worth of questions. The questions even ask about the level of benefits that you’re receiving in your present position. Once completed, your information is fed into their data systems.

But once you are finished, PayScale will send you a customized report with some of the most accurate salary information for a person of your qualifications available anywhere. might very well be the most popular salary guide on the web. It’s a certainty that it’s very simple and direct name has a lot to do with that. It’s also one of the most frequently cited sites for providing salary quotes.

The site is pretty simple to use, but the more specific information that you enter, the more reliable the information that you will get back.

As is usually the case with websites that provide free services, there will be abundant attempts by the site to move you into full job search mode, as well as to sell you related products and services.

Glassdoor is a job search site, but it provides salary information through its Know Your Worth page. You complete a three-page application, in which you can input the specific information about your current position for the one that you’re looking for.

Once you complete the survey, Glassdoor will provide you with a custom salary estimate that’s based on the job title, company, location, and experience.

Geographic location is a particularly important factor in determining salary levels on any salary guide. That’s because salaries can vary considerably from one region of the country to another. This is especially important if you’re planning on making a move to a different location. You should be most concerned with what salaries are in the new location, rather than where you are right now.

Specific Industry Salary Guides

You can find salary guides for specific professions, that might be more comprehensive than what you will find on the general search sites. There are salary guides for just about every field in existence.

For example, Robert Half offers salary guides for accounting and finance, administrative, technology, legal and creative professions.

If you’re looking for salary information on a healthcare position, check out Healthcare eCareers Salary Center. There you can find income information for all types of healthcare careers, including support positions, like heathcare IT, administration, finance and human resources. offers it’s free 2017 Salary Guide for IT positions. You have to provide contact and employment information for the guide, so be ready for follow up solicitation after receiving the guide.

If you need information in your specific field, simply do a web search for “salary guide for (your profession or field),” and resources will almost certainly turn up.

Whether you are planning to make a geographic move, looking to change jobs, or just want to know how your current salary stacks up against industry averages, salary guides are a quick and easy way to get the information that you need to make that determination.

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