5 Best Tools to Calculate Your Salary + Know What Your Worth

The million dollar negotiation question is this: “What am I really worth?!”  Let’s face it, what you really want to know before you ask for a raise is “what am I really worth”, right? Understanding “worth” is the biggest thing I see holding clients back from asking for a raise. They’re afraid they’ll ask for “too much” or “not enough”.  They’re nervous they’ll be asked to justify the numbers and won’t know how to prove their case.

Yes, having your salary “ask” grounded in data is a very important step in the negotiation process, BUT owning your number – whatever it is – is even more important.  You have to be confident in the number you want to be earning and you have to be willing to say no to opportunities that don’t align for you.  Once you’re confident in your ideal salary range and have no fear saying the number out loud, others will be more likely to pay you. You’ve got to own your number.


Have you created your own glass ceiling? Do you believe you’re contribution at work is worth, let’s say $100,000, or do you think that number is “too much”? 

Take the glass ceiling test: If the salary range you’re asking for scares you when you say it out loud, there’s more work for you to do to own your worth!

If you’re wishy washy about the number you throw out to recruiters, you risk setting yourself up for disappointment, caving in the negotiation process, and overall frustration.

If you’re up against your own glass ceiling, you may not be owning your worth.  You may worry your employer will doubt your value, so you put off making your ask.  But the truth is, the fear you feel in asking for a raise is connected to you doubting your worth (aka your valuable contribution to the organization).

This common fear can undermine your best intentions and is rooted in not believing in yourself enough to own your worth and ask for it. And so you wait.  You don’t risk hearing the answer of “no”, and your frustration and resentment build towards your boss or employer.

Not owning your worth is costing you money!

You have to separate your value, contribution, potential, and results from your feelings around money. Remember, you are priceless.  The value of your contribution can be researched, owned, justified, and explained in a solid business case.  Pull up your job description, your most recent performance review, and all those thank you emails you’ve received in the past 6 months and remind yourself how hard you’ve worked, how valuable of a team member you are, and why you’ve earned a raise.

Use the 5 tools below to calculate your value in the marketplace and know what your worth: 

  1. Visit online salary calculators:
    These tools are a great place to start in order to ground your research in data based on the job title, years of experience, and location.  These tools will help you identify whether or not a salary of $100,000, for example, is fair market value for someone in your field.
    LinkedIn Salary
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics
    Glassdoor is best known for its employee culture reviews, but you’ll also find salary data. The information provided here comes from Employees (not Employers) and tends to be skewed towards the higher and lower end of ranges.
    Employer Salary Resources like Randstad also offer great insights.
  2. Enroll your peers
    It’s often considered a “faux pas” to talk about money with our friends, family, and co-workers, but this outdated social norm is costing everyone.  It’s time to reach out to your peers (both male and female!) and do some digging. What are the people you know in your industry really being paid? This is often the best resource for accurate salary data!  Connect with your former colleagues or take a peer out for coffee and share with them that you’re doing some market research to help you in your quest for a raise. Ask them if they’d be willing to share their compensation package with you.  If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
  3. Ask HR
    Setup a time to meet with your Human Resources business partner.  HR has access to the most up to date, broad ranges of salary data in the market.  HR should also be aware of the internal salary bands per level within your organization.  Sit down with your business partner and ask them to help you understand where your current compensation package falls within the approved salary band for your level and position. Are you at, below, or above the median range?  How does your organization determine whether or not an employee is paid at fair market value?
  4. Talk with recruiters
    Share your resume with a few trusted recruiters in your industry who have recently filled positions like the one you hold now or like the role you’re looking to move into.  Ask the recruiter if they’d be willing to take a look at your background and give you insight into what they feel your background and experience will yield in terms of a starting base salary, based on roles that they’ve recently filled.  Recruiters have real-time data.
  5. Shift your relationship with money
    If your market data and overall investigation proves to you that people like you are earning $100,000, now is your opportunity to shift your relationship with money.   Are you ready and willing to receive for your hard work and contribution? If not, why not? What beliefs do you hold around earning money?

Remember, you have to confidently own the number you ask for in order to call it in, receive it, and feel motivated by it.  In negotiation, what you say yes to you accept, so are you ready and willing to accept being paid fairly and competitively for your contribution? Yes? I thought so!