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Salary + cost of living calculators

Did you receive a job offer or multiple offers? That is great news! There are useful tools and resources available online to research and evaluate offers.

Consider the following questions:

  • Is the job and company a good fit for you? Will it meet your monetary requirements?
  • Is the salary competitive for the geographic region, industry, and type of position?
  • What about benefits such as opportunities for advancement, professional development, paid time off, and flexible working hours?
  • How competitive are positions such as this?
  • Is it the right first job to start your career?

Salary negotiation

You should negotiate a salary when you are officially offered the position. If you are asked about salary prior to securing the job, politely sidestep the issue until you are confident that they want to hire you. Explain that you are open, based upon the position and the overall compensation package. Another option is to tell the employer that you would like to know more about the responsibilities and the challenges of the job prior to discussing salary. If you are still pressed for a number, present a salary range based on average wage data for the job, industry, and location.

Do your research

Research what the position is paying in your area and adjust for the experience and skills that you bring to the position. Be prepared with specific examples of your experiences to demonstrate your value.

NACE Salary Calculator
State of Wisconsin Wage Comparison
Salary Expert

Calculate your financial expenses

Know how much money you need to be comfortable in a specific geographic location. Consider cost of living differences if you are planning to move.

Cost of Living Calculator
Power Tools for Relocation
Sample Monthly Budget Worksheet

Use the budget worksheet to determine expenses you may need to consider. Determine a range you are comfortable with, and indicate your minimum acceptable salary at the bottom of the range. Weigh your expenses against details like the size of the company, their present financial situation, and how much money your skills and experiences are worth in that particular industry.

  • When asked point-blank about salary, counter by asking what their range is, so you know their boundaries.
  • Try not to sound demanding. Make suggestions but still be confident about what you are worth.
  • Be eager and enthusiastic, but willing to walk away if you have reached an unreasonable negotiating ceiling. Do not burn bridges, but rather politely decline the offer.
  • Ask for offer details in writing. Take time to consider the offer.
  • Never lie about past salary; reference checks may expose you.
  • Consider the value of benefits and perks in your salary expectations, such as bonuses, tuition reimbursement, health insurance, paid time off, telecommuting options, and promotion potential.
Additional resources
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