Thursday, August 12, 2010

Salary Levels & Resources

Vickie Elmer, one of our favorite Washington Post business writers, recently detailed the lack of salary information in job descriptions. Vickie reports exactly what we're seeing: compensation levels are volatile and vary widely. You can (and should!) leverage resources like, but Vickie's team of experts also suggests:

-- If you already work for the organization, simply go to the human resources department and ask. This may work for some outside candidates, too, especially if they are finalists for the job.

-- Check recent job postings specific to the city and industry where you want to work and to your level of experience. Exclude contract jobs (unless that is what you're seeking), because their base pay is much higher. Recruiters also can be great sources.

-- Use Web sites to learn a ballpark estimate of market salaries.

-- Talk to people who already hold the job you want. Connect with them on LinkedIn or through professional associations. Ask for career advice and insights -- including salary ranges.

And keep in mind that salary levels are a function of supply and demand. In the Washington, DC area, there are thousands of unemployed attorneys and bill rates are showing it. But IT professionals with security clearances are still able to command competitive rates. If you've been out of the job force for a few years (for raising children, layoffs, etc) keep in mind that you will likely not make what you made then. It's math. It's the Great Recession. It's the role and the budget for the role but it's not you.

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