You’ve heard all the advice on negotiating for a higher salary or job title, but aside from paying attention to that nagging feeling that you’re being undervalued, how do you know when you should ask for a raise? And then, how much do you ask for?
The best—and simplest—way to gauge this periodically is to respond to those calls from recruiters.
With social media and especially LinkedIn, it’s never been easier for recruiters to reach out to passive job candidates. So once you’re a few years into your career, you’ve probably been pinged a couple of times. When you’re not actively looking for a job, it’s easy to overlook (read: ignore) their messages, but these are actually great opportunities for you to evaluate your worth—and thus know what to negotiate for from your current employer.
Think about it: If a recruiter is reaching out to you, he or she presumably believes it’s possible to lure you away from your position with higher pay, a higher title, or both. The other important point to remember is that this recruiter also believes you are qualified for this higher position and deserving of this pay.
In other words, recruiters know what people with your experience and expertise are worth on the open market, so use it to your advantage! The next time one reaches out to you, engage in a conversation about the position’s responsibilities and pay. You may not get a strict number, but even a range is helpful.
And if your current pay falls well outside of that range, it’s time to do a little more digging. Find other similar job postings with salaries listed, talk to people in your field, and do your research on Payscale. If those results confirm that you’re underpaid, prepare to have a conversation with your manager. You may just end up with a raise—for picking up the phone to chat!
Photo of phone courtesy of Shutterstock.
Lily Zhang serves as a Manager of Graduate Student Professional Development at the MIT Media Lab where she works with a range of students from AI experts to interaction designers. When she’s not indulging in a new book or video game, she’s thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers. Follow her musings on Twitter @lzhng.More from this Author