How to determine what salary to ask for

According to Manpower’s 2015 Talent Shortage Survey, the global rate of employers struggling to fill jobs is at a seven year high, with 38% reporting an inability to staff open roles. This talent shortage translates into a major advantage for job seekers, particularly those in booming industries (like tech).

However, despite having the upper hand in the hiring process, most individuals fail to negotiate the best deal possible—and there’s a reason for that. People rarely know their worth in the marketplace.

So how can you determine your worth? And more importantly, how do you go from knowing it to actually receiving it? Do you play competing offers off one another? Opt for equity over salary? Negotiate more vacation time?

I’ve talked to a lot of candidates and companies over the years, so here are my best tips for securing a job with a compensation package that fairly reflects your skill set and experience in a competitive landscape.

1. Do Your Research

Value in the hiring market is defined by a combination of experience, skills, and market demand—and to get what you deserve, you need to know what price you could put on each of these pieces.

Start with a salary calculator. Choose one that takes into account your position, years of experience, skill set, and location (or desired location). PayScale, LiveCareer, and are three options I like. Also, keep in mind that many professional organizations also publish detailed annual salary guides for specific job verticals, so you can see the going rates for your industry.

If you go in knowing what someone in your role should be making, you’ll know if you’re being low-balled, and you’ll have the facts handy to back up why you should make more.

2. Be Transparent

It’s important to be upfront about your goals during a hiring process. You may have heard the age-old advice not to mention a number until the very end—and definitely not before the company names its price first. But I believe that advice is outdated.

If you’re honest about your salary goal from the get go, you’ll eliminate potentially difficult negotiations and disappointment down the road. Going through an extensive interview process is time-consuming—and takes energy away from applying to other opportunities. So, if a company’s salary limitations are too low for you to make it work, it’s best to find that out before either side has made a major investment of time.

Additionally, transparency extends to sharing where you are in your process with other companies. It may go against everything you were taught, but times have changed and informing companies about other interviews and offers encourages the hiring manager to act quicker and make a more attractive offer. (Hint: Just be sure you phrase it correctly.)

3. Ask the Right Questions

To get the best deal, you need as much information as possible. There are three categories of questions to ask. The first group include questions you’d ask in any role to get a sense of how the company will judge your performance and what additional opportunities exist (such as bonuses and raises).

  • What are the expectations for this role?
  • What is the growth trajectory for this role?
  • What does the benefits package look like?
  • Is this a base-only offer?
  • Will there be a sign-on bonus?
  • How often do performance reviews take place, and will raises be contingent on those reviews?

The second category of questions applies to job seekers in talks with a startup, as you’ll want to explore equity offerings. This alternate form of compensation enables employees to take partial ownership in the company through stock options. Some basic questions to ask your potential employer include:

  • How many options will I be offered and how many shares are currently outstanding?
  • What is the strike price on my options?
  • What’s the preferred price that investors paid in the last round of financing?
  • What is the standard range for equity at the company? Is there a sliding scale?
  • How long do I have to exercise my stock options if I leave the company? Is early exercise available?

The third category consists of questions to ask yourself. You want to get clear on what you need in order to say yes:

  • How long do I plan to be with the company if I accept the offer?
  • How much risk am I willing to take on?
  • What do the company’s exit prospects look like?
  • What kind of equity/salary ratio works for me?

4. Negotiate Like a Pro

You want the job, but the salary isn’t quite where you’d like it to be. If you have multiple offers, consider leveraging one against the other by letting your first choice know that they’re your first choice, but option B came in $20K higher.

If there’s no other offer (or no wiggle room on numbers), but the job meets your other needs and includes room for growth, determine what is most important to you before taking the time to learn what else they can do. Will the company let you work from home? Will the HR department boost your benefits package? Offer a signing bonus or add an extra week of vacation? Explore all options before walking away. (And, because I know negotiation’s hard, here’s an email template for negotating when the salary’s low.)

It’s certainly a daunting task to determine your worth, and even more so to push for it when the company comes to you with a low salary offer. But you are worth it. Considering the amount of time you’ll dedicate to your job, you want to feel like it’s time well spent. Negotiating and confirming your worth to a company is crucial to both parties’ ultimate success.

I’m looking for a comprehensive answer to this question, not short answers that just tell me one piece of the equation.

The ideal answer should include:

How can I determine the average salary rate for my position?

What statistics affect the sort of salary I can ask for? (location, skillset, experience, education, etc)

Do employment benefits play a role in the salary amount I should ask for?

5 Answers 5

How can I determine the average salary rate for my position?

There are a few ways to analyze this:

Use salary websites such as, or (for jobs in the USA). Salary websites will usually take into account your job title, years of experience, and location.

Keep in mind that they will sometimes lump benefits in with the salary figure shown, so the dollar amount presented may be larger than what you should ask for depending on what benefits the company offers.

Surveying people (colleagues/recruiters) in the same locality or even company. To avoid asking someone their salary directly (because that is not polite), you can ask them what range someone with their skillset/experience would typically get.

Interviewing and actually getting offers. This would be before you negotiate with them; if you have multiple written offers, it is easy to compare.

What statistics affect the sort of salary I can ask for?

Location: This is one of the biggest things that affects the sort of salary you can ask for. Some factors that play a role include:

  • Supply/Demand – A place that has a high demand and a low supply will obviously pay more than a location with a low demand and a high supply.
  • Cost of Living – Some cities have a very high cost of living, so many jobs there will pay a higher salary than a place with a low cost of living.
  • Taxes – A company is likely to pay you a lower rate in a location that has lower taxes. For example, in the US there are 7 states where you don’t pay state taxes, or if you are working as an expatriate in some countries, you may not have to pay taxes at all.

Experience: Someone with a lot of experience is in higher demand than someone with no experience, so they can ask for a higher salary since multiple companies are usually competing for their skills.

Education: Your degree does not entitle you to have a higher salary rate, however the degree is supposed to be proof that you have the knowledge and skills typically required for a job. As with experience, someone with a degree is usually in higher demand than someone without a degree, and it can often be used to negotiate a higher salary.

Skill Set: Companies want someone with skills to match the job they’re hiring for, so if you have the exact skills they’re looking for, you might be able to ask for a higher rate than if you only had related skills.

In addition, some skills are rarer to find than others, so if you have a rare language on your resume, then you may be able to ask for more than if you had a common one.

Telecommuting: You may get less money since some companies factor in cost-of-living/travel expenses into the salary

Company Size: Larger corporations and government agencies, especially ones with unions, tend to have the best benefits packages although this usually comes with a lower salary.

Smaller companies will tend to offer fewer benefits but will often compensate for this with higher pay or other perks

Do employment benefits play a role in the salary amount I should ask for?

Absolutely. Here are some common benefits which often affect the dollar amount of your salary


  • In some countries, healthcare is provided by the government, so that can affect your salary
  • If you work as an independent contractor, you may get more money since the company is not paying for your healthcare.
  • Some companies pay more for health benefits than other companies so you may have to pay more out of pocket even if you have a higher salary

401k matching/stock options

  • Not every company provides these benefits

Earned Time off/Vacation

  • For contractors or people with no ETO, there is a dollar amount attached to each time you take a day off
  • If you have more time off available, this can be factored into the salary since you are, in a sense, being paid to not work.


  • A small number of employers offer Defined Benefit pensions (pension is calculated on number of years of service x a multiplier)
  • Some countries enforce pension contributions – which impacts your take home pay

Plus, how to ask for a raise.

This was certainly the case for my best friend, who was recently offered a new, full-time position at the company where she was interning. They told her to come up with a number she thought was reasonable. Over dinner, we talked about salaries and hours and past experience, circling the issue. Finally, she flat out asked, “So how do I figure out a fair number?”

Her question stumped me, mainly because I realized that I’d never read a simple answer despite the fact that, you know, I run a career site. Sure, your salary is completely subjective and depends on your industry, your experience, the company, etc. But are there really no guidelines whatsoever for this?

Ultimately, I ran the question by one of our CC career experts (one of this job’s major perks). Her response was so great that we published it for you here. But when I called my friend back to tell her what I’d found out, she said, “Oh, I already figured it out!”

One of the things I both love and hate about my best friend is that she’s somehow always more proactive than I am. Turns out, that she’d consulted with someone who just happens to work for a company that funds women-run start-up ventures in San Francisco. That seemingly never-ending and frustrating question of salary requirements? This woman owned it.

Here’s the simplest equation to calculate your ask, adapted from that wise SF woman (with a bit of our own advice thrown in).


How to determine what salary to ask for



So in other words:

How to determine what salary to ask for

And How to Negotiate for a Raise

  • G: Give Background Info
  • I: Introduce Why You’re Awesome
  • M: Make Your Case Research-Based (This is where all that research comes in!)
  • M: Make the Ask
  • E: End with a Bang

What is the answer to the question – “How Much Am I Worth?” Find out the salary you deserve.

Salary is a Sticky Issue

So, what are you looking to be paid?

It’s always a sticking point during an interview. When a hiring manager asks you what your salary requirements are, it can be difficult to answer. Ask for too much, and you could end up pricing yourself right out of the job. Venture too little and you might be seen as less than confident in your capabilities (and also not get the salary you deserve).

To get this right, you need to be proactive and take intelligent steps toward making sure you get a reasonable salary that meets your needs and allows you to still look at yourself in the mirror at the end of each day. Here’s how you can do it.

5. Do an Online Search

When you’re building a new house, you need to do your homework before construction and make sure all the plans are correct. Negotiating salary is no different.

So, you need to plan. In this case, that means researching comparable salaries. Now, no one wants to be underpaid. But no one wants to ask their peers what their annual salary is either, because that can get uncomfortable quickly. Luckily, you don’t have to do that because these days it’s super easy to figure out what people in your industry are making.’s Salary Wizard offers pay ranges regarding more than 4,000 job titles for almost every industry. This will help you establish a range of what you could be worth and what you should ask for.

Never go into a salary negotiation blind and unarmed without research. Always have the answer to the questions – How much am I worth? And what salary I should ask for?

4. Factor in Experience

A range is simply that, a range. What makes the scale slide in your favor are the other factors you bring to the hiring table.

For example, your past work experience (especially how it relates to the position that you’re applying for) can give you an added advantage when you’re a job seeker. Even if you’ve had a gap in employment, try to incorporate any volunteer work, educational classes you’ve taken that pertain to the job, and (if you’re a parent) even the important skills you picked up during your time off. All of this information can help you avoid being underpaid.

3. Factor in Your Flexibility

Let’s say that you are willing to relocate to Beijing for six months for your job. Or you’re amenable to working a graveyard shift that no one else wants.

Being flexible counts in your favor when you’re looking for work. Not only does it make you worth more to a hiring manager looking to find a candidate for a particularly tricky job opening, but it does keep you from getting underpaid because it sets you apart from the other candidates.

2. Factor in Location

When looking for work, your location can help (or hurt) you.

If you live too far from an in-office position, you might be at a disadvantage to someone who lives nearby. And if you live in a rural area — as opposed to a more urban city — the salary offered might reflect that. That’s why it’s important to factor in the cost of living and compare that to the salary you’re being offered when weighing your options and figuring out how much money you should be seeking.

Of course, if you telecommute, you have the added advantage of being able to work anywhere which allows more flexibility.

1. Get Educated

Depending on your profession, having certain degrees can definitely bolster your earnings potential. Be sure to mention any extra licenses or certifications you have earned, as those can become a powerful bargaining chip when applying for — and negotiating — your salary requirements.

Also, if education is important to you and your company offers a generous tuition reimbursement package, you might consider a lower base salary in exchange for the opportunity to go back to school to earn a degree.

The Key to Victory is Knowledge

The key to not being underpaid is knowing – how much am I worth?. So once you’ve added up all the factors (from education to location) that make you a top candidate, have the confidence to ask for what you truly want — because you it.

Let Help You

The first thing you should do is research, so you’re able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what’s a fair salary for your position. This will help you to answer – “what salary should I ask for”? You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

Deciding to switch from an hourly to a salaried role can be a positive change for your career. However, it’s important to compare the key differences between these two types of employee compensation. In this article, we provide a wage calculator and an estimating formula for converting hourly wages into an annual salary, and we explore the pros and cons of going from an hourly to a salaried position.

For accurate hourly to salary conversion, use the Indeed calculator below:

Time Worked

Starting Pay

Computed Pay

Formula to estimate annual salary

An easy formula for estimating your equivalent annual salary is to double your current hourly wage and add three zeros to that number.

For example, if you make $15 an hour, double it, and it becomes $30. Then add three zeros, which would make it $30,000. This is your approximate annual salary based on your hourly earnings.

This estimation only applies to full-time, exempt employees who work 40 hours a week. Also, keep in mind, this calculation does not include taxes, medical insurance costs or other standard deductions that may be taken out of your paycheck.

Salary vs. Hourly Pay

Salary Pay Pros
1. Consistent paycheck
2. Paid time off and sick days
3. Eligibility for more, better benefits
4. More career advancement opportunities

Hourly Pay Pros
1. Overtime compensation
2. Holiday pay (for example, time and a half)
3. Ability to dedicate time to other interests
4. Some autonomy over your schedule

Salary Pay Cons
1. Potential to work more than scheduled hours
2. Potentially less autonomy over holidays and overtime
3. Reduced availability for additional jobs

Hourly Pay Cons
1. More vulnerable to economic changes
2. Pay losses when tardy or absent
3. Typically fewer benefits

Questions to ask when considering a salaried position

Given the myriad advantages and disadvantages that come with being a salaried employee, it can be useful to ask yourself the following questions when deciding whether to switch from hourly to salary:

What will be expected of you in your salary-based role?

If you have an opportunity to advance from an hourly to a salary position, make sure you fully understand what will be expected of you in your new role. If your employer simply wants you to continue to do the same work but on a salary basis, it’s important to know why.

Since salaried employees typically aren’t compensated for working overtime, some employers may try to switch an hourly employee to a salary to have them complete the same tasks without overtime pay. This goes against the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and is something you should clarify if you are unsure of the situation.

What will your new schedule be like?

Salaried jobs tend to have more stable schedules compared to hourly jobs. Hourly employees might rarely work the same days and shifts from one week to another. For this reason, salaried jobs are appealing to individuals who have other obligations, such as classes or a family to take care of.

On the other hand, it’s important to understand that arriving at a specific start time and leaving when you’ve worked for eight hours might not always be possible as a salaried employee. Having a clear understanding of your new schedule can help you determine if making the switch is right for you.

What benefits are available as part of the salary package?

Benefits are an advantageous component of being a salary-based employee. If your company employs more than 50 people on a full-time basis, and you work 30 or more hours each week (or 130 hours per month), access to employer-sponsored medical insurance should be available to you. You should also inquire about paid time off and sick leave as well. While salaried employees are more likely to get these kinds of benefits, company policies will vary.

Will you be entitled to advancement opportunities?

Salaried employees are more likely to be eligible for annual raises, bonuses and profit-sharing. Beyond that, salaried employees might be able to attend company-sponsored training. Knowing what types of advancement opportunities are available to you can aid in your decision-making process.

Is flextime available for situations when you must work more than 40 hours per week?

While salaried employees sometimes find that they have to work more than 40 hours to get the job done, flextime can help you regain work-life balance. Essentially, a flextime policy allows salaried employees to take time off as a way to make up for contributing an extraordinary amount of time and effort.

For instance, if an employee worked 40 hours during one week but must represent the company at a convention over the weekend, the employer may allow them to take a few days off post-convention without using their allotted paid time off. This is more of a case-by-case perk, but it could be worthwhile to ask.

What stage of your career are you in?

If you are just starting out professionally or you rely on overtime pay, remaining hourly may be better for you. On the other hand, if you need more stability to balance family life or other outside responsibilities, a salaried position may be advantageous. For certain industries, if you are focused on advancing your career, becoming a salaried employee may be a good choice for your career path.

Will your job satisfaction increase as a salaried employee?

Since salaried employees tend to enjoy additional benefits and perks than their hourly counterparts, being salaried may provide you with a new sense of job satisfaction. Either way, being happy where you are can help you feel motivated to do your best.

How to determine what salary to ask for


  • How Should I Answer About Flexibility for Salary Requirements?
  • What Are Appropriate Ways to Respond to a Salary Range?
  • How to Negotiate a Restaurant Manager Position
  • Tips for Negotiating Salary at an Interview
  • How to Respond to an E-mail for Desired Salary

Insider knowledge about salary ranges and employers’ wage setting practices can help you negotiate a better salary than what a prospective employer proposes with its initial job offer. The vast majority of hiring managers don’t come out of the gate with their best and final offer the first time they offer the job to you. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to understand how employers determine starting salaries and what salary ranges really mean.

Salary Range

Ask the hiring manager or the recruiter what the organization’s salary range is for the position you’ve been offered. Since they’re not quoting an exact salary, they should be at liberty to provide you with that information. Besides, if you plan to work for the company and you’re at this stage in the selection process, knowing the range for a position you could potentially fill gives you information that helps determine the direction of your career with the organization.

Starting Salaries

Many employers start new hires significantly below the salary range midpoint. They justify this practice by saying a lower salary gives new employees room to grow and to become fully competent in their new roles. However, the practice also saves the employer money on starting salaries when candidates don’t ask about negotiating a higher salary. It’s not uncommon for an employer to begin a new employee at 10 percent to 15 percent below the salary midpoint.

Wage Setting Principles

Employers generally rely on three factors for wage setting: minimum, midpoint and maximum. Some employers establish minimum and maximum salary levels at 75 percent and 125 percent of the midpoint, respectively. For example, if the salary range for an executive assistant is $56,000 to $94,000, the midpoint is $75,000, which means the employee is fully capable of performing all the functions of the job. An employee who hasn’t yet met all the performance goals could receive 75 percent of that midpoint, which is $56,250; the maximum level is 125 percent of $75,000, which is $93,750.

Initial Salary Offer

In this scenario, if you receive a job offer for the executive assistant role, don’t be surprised if the initial salary offer is around $63,750, which is 85 percent of the $75,000 midpoint. Remember, the midpoint means the employer considers the employee is fully functional in the role and capable of performing all the job functions. Therefore, the initial offer suggests that you aren’t capable of beginning your new job in a fully functional role, despite the accolades you might have received during the interview concerning your skills, qualifications and aptitude.

Negotiation Tactics

To negotiate your starting salary based on the salary range, do the math. Calculate what you would earn right off the street if the employer followed these wage-setting principles. If you’re confident you can hit the ground running and minimize your ramp-up time once you accept the job, ask for the midpoint or slightly above, since it indicates a fully functional team member. When the company counters your offer, determine the increments – say, $1,000 – to use in negotiations for your proposals and counteroffers. So, you would start your desired salary at $75,000 or slightly above and negotiate downward in $1,000 increments until you two reach a mutually agreeable starting wage.

Questions about salary requirements are one of the very few questions guaranteed to come up during a job interview or screening process, as well as almost always cause some severe awkwardness on both sides. Once you’ve found a great job , how do you demand what you’re worth without sounding arrogant? What if you toss out a low number and lock yourself in at a loss, or shoot too high and scale yourself out of the running? The web’s chock-full of tools to help you gauge a reasonable asking rate, and we’ve received some pretty sound advice over the years on how to pull off the salary tightrope walk. Follow along for a guide to finding and asking after just the right pay rate. Photo by AMagill

Use a salary search site

These things seem to have cropped up faster than social networks in recent years, and they all promise the same thing—an objective take on what people with similar skill sets are earning in their jobs. There are, of course, differences in methodology, accuracy, and what fields the sites cover best. Here’s a rundown on some of the better-known comparison sites. Note: We’re not covering the major job search sites—, HotJobs, Yahoo!, etc.—because their salary comparison tools are often locked behind a sign-up wall or cover jobs as entire categories.

  • Focuses on salary reports and management reviews. Requires a sign-up and salary disclosure before offering up detailed data. Because it’s newer, one strong opinion—or misleading salary report—can skew the data values. Good for: Anyone in the tech or financial worlds, toward which the reports and reviews tend to tilt, or looking at a bigger-name company. Also, as of this morning, Glassdoor is opening up multi-currency salary information for companies in more than 100 countries, so those looking abroad should check it out.

PayScale : Much more detailed data-sorting than most sites, with salaries detailed by years of experience, location, education levels, rather than just a job title at a company. Good for: Researching job scenarios you hope to have (editor in NYC, IT manager in Las Vegas, etc.) rather than trying to pigeonhole a specific company.

  • SalaryScout: Like, SalaryScout requires your own contribution before forking over too much information. It’s similar in other respects, too, but the killer tool is an RSS feed for searches you perform—perfect for keeping yourself up-to-date on job titles, salary ranges, and blue-sky thinking. Good for: Complementing other salary searches, and adding onto your job-finding RSS feed .

Indeed: As we’ve mentioned before , job listing aggregator Indeed lets you pull off some interesting searches, including an all-options-open search for something like “Web editor $40,000,” which will show you where you’ll pull that salary for that job title anywhere in the country. If you’re not looking to move, you can also compare salaries in a given zip code . Good for: Seeing if your salary estimates are anywhere near realistic, or finding alternative jobs in your market that pay just as much.

Stay quiet on your salary, or come out with it?

This is a topic that’s spurred a lot of discussion . The post that started it said that saying what you want was a no-win game when it came to interviews, ending with you either leaving money on the table or nixing your chances at the job by shooting high. While we can’t claim to be experts on the matter, we think commenter vered has a good point: If you’re confident in your job hunt and really don’t want to pen yourself in, you can refuse to offer your own number—but only if you’re willing to let the job fall away. If not, you probably can’t stonewall on the issue, and it’s seemingly best to try and shoot a little high.

Checked your credit lately?

No matter what salary you end up asking for, a growing number of employers won’t be giving it to you if your credit report has notable problems or is in general disrepair. If you haven’t already checked it out, head to to get your actually-free-once-a-year report, and be prepared with trustworthy explanations of any serious issues there. If an employer thinks you can’t handle money, chances are, they won’t be offering you as much of it. What tools or tips have you used to suss out how much pay to ask for? What salary-hunter sites have worked best for you? Share your stories in the comments.


@ jonny6pak : Yeah, but who checked Enron’s, WorldComm, and all these other failed companies credit. Now you’re laid off, no compensation and forced to use/ruin credit to survive.

Can I check your credit as CEO, or see your lifestyle. As my employer it is not your job to become my financial advocate, or life coach. I provide you with a service, and you compesate me for it. Do you run your maids credit, or plumbers, or even the Cafeteria Lady at your kids school, I think not.

I run a catering business part time, and if I spent all day running credit before I hired helpers and servers, I would lose money, before I made it. Besides its NONE OF MY BUSINESS. Build a repore with your workers and establish trust. if you really feel as if you cant trust them, DONT HIRE EM

Searching for a new job can be an exhausting and anxiety-inducing process. This anxiety multiplies when the subject of compensation is kept under lock and key. Job seekers can attest that not every job posting will have a salary range designated. Potential applicants may wonder, “why even apply for the job if I don’t know if the compensation is right for me?”

Business Insider asked a few career experts to weigh in on how to find out a job’s salary before you even apply. Keep reading to learn their insider tips — and get an exact template for what to email a hiring manager the next time you’re unsure about a salary range.

Feel free to ask about the salary range, but remain professional in your conversations with the company or hiring manager

Asking about a position’s salary range can be tricky — especially when you haven’t yet been invited in for an interview. However, there are ways to find out this information while still remaining professional in the eyes of the company or recruiter. As a professional recruiter and president of Karpiak Consulting, a niche recruiting firm specializing in public accounting, Adam Karpiak is a verified expert in the hiring process. He gave BI a few quick tips on how to find out a job’s salary before you even apply and increase your chances of getting hired while you do it.

” Asking the company/contact the salary range is usually 99% professional. Just avoid short curt responses, Karpiak said. “For example, if a company sends you a nice email acknowledging you and asking you to interview, don’t simply reply back, ‘What does it pay?’ I have found that most companies appreciate the salary discussion because no one likes wasting their own time.”

What to say to a recruiter or hiring manager to find out the salary range

Karpiak also gave the perfect response to an inquiry about coming in for an interview when the salary hasn’t been stated.

“Candidates can simply say ‘Thanks so much for reaching out! I’d be happy to meet and discuss this role with you. My availability is X. And just to be on the same page, I am currently entertaining opportunities in the X-Y salary range (I wouldn’t want to waste your time if you have budgeted a lower number).’ Most companies are receptive to that approach,” Karpiak explained.

If you want to find out the salary range prior to being invited in for an interview, or before you apply, you can use the same rhetoric to reach out to the hiring manager. Simply explain that you are interested in the position and would love to hear more about the salary range of the position in order to make sure you are both on the same page.

Career expert Austin Belcak also revealed how to answer a recruiter asking for your desired salary. “If the recruiters ask what salary you’re looking for, push back and ask if they’re able to share the range they have budgeted for the role,” Belcak said. “Companies always have an idea of what they’re willing to pay for each position and being upfront ensures that you’re both on the same page moving forward.”

If you don’t want to ask directly about the salary for a given position, include a note in your cover letter stating your desired salary range

Your cover letter can provide the perfect opportunity to explain exactly what you’re looking for in your job search — including compensation. ” Cover letters are great when there are actual topics to discuss (i.e. relocation, reentering the workforce, changes in industry/translatable skills, etc),” says Karpiak. “A cover letter can express [your] interest in the role and also let them know what salary range you are looking for.”

Use online salary tools to find out the range and what former employees made in the same position

When all else fails, online resources such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Payscale have become go-to resources for job seekers. Informed by former or current employees, these resources are a mostly-reliable way to find out what a job’s compensation might be. However, Karpiak explains that these online tools are not always accurate.

“I find salary data on websites to often be inaccurate and varying wildly. As a recruiter, my opinion is probably biased, but I feel that talking to recruiters is a great way to find out salary ranges. Let’s say for some reason you are uncomfortable asking an actual company/contact what the salary range is (fear, intimidation, whatever) — a recruiter should have a general idea of what the range is based on their experience in the market. It might not be 100% accurate, but it’ll be close.”

Sarah Johnston , an executive resume-writer, and career coach, explained that a new feature on LinkedIn can help you find a job’s salary range, without having to apply first.

“LinkedIn has a new(er) salary insights feature that shows estimated or expected salary based on data from their 530+ million members and employer-provided information,” she told Business Insider. “I’ve found that this feature is a great starting place.”

Recruiters can also easily be found on LinkedIn and could provide great insight into what a position’s compensation is at similar companies. Job seekers can also use LinkedIn to connect with current or former employees at the company they wish to apply to.

“There’s no reason that you can’t look up the job title on LinkedIn and see who currently or recently held the role in question. [You can then] do a bit of networking about the company, the salary range, etc.,” says Karpiak. “Think of it as due diligence.”