Each week, TopResume’s career advice expert, Amanda Augustine, answers user questions on Quora like the one below. We’ll be republishing those answers here. A certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW), Amanda has been helping professionals improve their careers for over 10 years. Have a question for Amanda? Submit it here.
Q: How do I calculate my value for an interview when I’m changing careers?
It can be difficult to walk confidently into the interview room and demand a certain salary when you’re switching to a new line of work.
However, keep this in mind: When you’re negotiating your compensation for any job, whether you’re new to the industry, making a major career change, or simply aiming for a lateral move, it’s important to first research the going rate for that position.
Head over to Glassdoor, Salary.com, and PayScale to find out the salary range for the position you’re targeting, based on the company's size, location, and industry.
Say you’re interviewing for a copywriter position in Chicago and the job description asked for five years of experience. Find the job description that best matches with the requirements (here’s the Copywriter III description on Salary.com) and then look at the associated pay range in Chicago.
Then, as you’re refining the results based on some of the other factors, think long and hard about your previous experience. This is especially important if you’re trying to make a career change.
Ask yourself, “What about my work history has helped me build skills that will prove valuable in this new role?
How much business writing have I done in the form of presentations, reports, or even emails with clients, colleagues, or my boss?
Did any of my previous positions require me to be creative or think on my feet?
Was I ever in situations where I had to sell someone on an idea I had, whether it was about the direction, scope, or budget of a project I was managing or working on?
Did I ever have to dig deep into data to learn about the pain points and challenges my company’s target customer experienced?
Think about it: All of these skills will serve you well as a copywriter. While you may not have five solid years of experience in the role, you may have an equivalent number of years of experience leveraging the skills that will make you a great copywriter. And if you have work experience in the same industry as this new role, you have even more going for you!
If you landed the interview, you’ve already gotten over the first hurdle. Do your research into current salary ranges for the role you’re seeking, and then remind yourself how you’ve been building relevant skills for this job all along (or gone the extra mile and taken courses to help build your relevant skill set).
This will help you walk into the interview room and confidently ask for the salary you deserve.
Click on the following link for more help on negotiating your salary.