Capri23auto / Pixabay

Money questions are often awkward but just as often on your mind. It can be hard to know what is a fair salary and when you are being paid what you deserve. Having an accurate idea of that is vital when it comes to salary negotiations when you are being hired or when the question of a raise comes up at work.

Here is our advice for making sure you get paid what you deserve.

Thorough Research

Without doing some digging, you’ll never know the kind of salary you should expect. This also allows you to approach any negotiation with objective fact instead of personal feelings which can lead you astray.

Websites like Glassdoor and Payscale can give you an idea of what people in similar positions and companies are earning. When using these sites, remember that the size and stage of the company will also have an impact on salary. What you’ll earn at an early-stage company is generally lower — you are taking on a greater risk for greater potential reward.

It is also important to look at salaries in your location. Various factors, such as cost of living and job market conditions, can make salaries generally higher or lower in different cities and countries.

In addition to those sites, you can also use your network. Ask friends at similar companies or who work in similar roles what they earn — only if they feel comfortable sharing, of course.

Know What Sets You Apart and Use It

If you do have something special to offer that could allow you to earn above the average, it’s important that you fully understand this. In order to negotiate for that additional salary, you will need to be able to clearly and persuasively explain the extra value will offer in return.

Hopefully, you already have a list of ways to demonstrate your value. (You should be preparing these for any job application or interview.) Each and every item you bring up needs to be backed up by persuasive evidence, though.

Look Back on Your Professional Growth

If you have made significant advances in what you do and have taken on greater responsibilities, it is more likely that you deserve a higher salary. Be warned, if you want to use this to ask for a raise, you will need to have the numbers to justify it. Arm yourself with clear metrics as to what you have done to deserve a salary increase.

Understand the Marketplace

If your role or skillset is in high demand in the job market, you are likely able to command a higher salary. If you know other companies are higher positions similar to yours for more than what you are getting paid, you have the potential to negotiate an increase. Tread carefully, though, or you could alienate your employers.