What are YOU worth?

Picture this.

You’re at a job interview. You’re charming everyone with professional poise and company knowledge. Everything is going according to plan. Even that nasty, no eye contact person has cracked what could be defined as a smile! The session is going extremely well until the employer asks that one loaded question:

“What are your salary expectations?”

If unprepared, those 5 words can kill any chances of a job offer.Image

What’s in a wage?

It’s always an awkward thing, having to put a price on you, face to face. Its funny how many people have no qualms about advertising how poorly paid they are, but when asked what that number may be, they clam right up!

How does one find out their worth?  That really depends on two factors; what you can afford to be making plus what kind of previous experience you have.

Depending on your geographic location, you can review this information online. For example, in the province of Ontario, salaries for a variety of occupations can be located through the following website:


This site might be a good starting point to see what the average wage of someone in your field would be.

In terms of indicating what your salary expectations are, I would always opt for a salary range i.e. “35 000 – 40 000 per year” or rate “15-20 dollars per hour.” Always consider your level of experience with what you need to survive, but also something that will allow you to exist comfortably.

So, how should your expectations read on a cover letter? Show that you’ve given this question some thought;

“With thoughtful consideration regarding the position requirements in relation to my current knowledge, transferable skills and relevant competences in this role, I would aspire toward a salary range between ___ and ____.”

Of course, you could also mention how this range could also be negotiated upon receiving a job offer.

If you go the range route, you leave room for flexibility. For example, if you were content to make a starting salary of 19$ an hour and the employer was willing to pay you a starting salary of 21$ per hour, then a sound entry level rate  of $19-23 per hour would be successful.

Give your salary expectation serious consideration. You want to get the job, but not have to get a second one to survive.

Lidia SIino is the Professional Development & Communications Specialist for MCACES, the Mohawk College Association of Continuing Education Students in Hamilton, Ontario. She also teaches in the Mohawk College Career Consultant Certificate Program. MCACESBlogs providers readers with job search and career management advice. Like what you see? Be sure to follow MCACESBlogs todayI Happy reading!

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