I refer to Fair Market Value in a lot of what I teach, and there’s good reason for that. You might not be aware that knowing your Fair Market Value is the way that professionals stay on track, or even get ahead of, their earning curve.
If you’ve ever wondered “how do I ask for a higher salary?” or “how do I ask for more money at my next job?” you’re in the right place, because Fair Market Value is the foundation upon which you can build your case in salary negotiations. It always amazes me how many job seekers don’t know what their fair market value is when they are in the middle of a job search or even worse they aren’t even familiar with the concept!

Here is a step-by-step overview of how to determine your Fair Market Value. We go over an in-depth process in Smart Job Search System, but this mini-process will absolutely help you get started.

First off, what is fair market value? It’s the salary amount that companies in the market are willing to pay. It’s not determined by an individual employer, rather, it’s a composite figure that’s flexible, not fixed, and highly dependant on lots of variables. Think of it this way: the job market and companies determine Fair Market Value the way the stock market determines a stock price for a public company.

Your Fair Market Value (AKA: a truly fair salary range) will factor in…

  • Your education and qualifications
  • Skillset
  • Experience
  • Results and accomplishments
  • Geographic location
  • Certifications
  • Job title (either your current one, or your future one if you are switching jobs)
How do you determine your Fair Market Value? You compare these factors by doing market research.

First, try Glassdoor, Payscale, and check out the salaries of positions that include your job title, job description, and geographic location.

Let’s say I’m a Web Developer and I’m looking for a position in Los Angeles. I would start by looking for Web Developer job openings in L.A. Once I got several salary numbers, I would write them down and look at the job descriptions to make sure I’m researching to correct job description for my job title. (You wouldn’t believe how many people realize that their job description is actually different than what they think it’s supposed to be!)

Now, let’s say that I have more experience than the average Web Developer, because maybe I’ve run a side business since I was 18. Perhaps this included hands-on experience with creating successful apps for innovative companies, and required me to step into a leadership role with clients and subcontractors. Perhaps I’m now 32, which would give me about 10+ years of leadership experience. This would be a variable in my Fair Market Value that I have to factor in.

Geographic location is a huge factor, because the same job in New York City will not yield the same salary as Orlando or Austin, due to cost of living. And if you’re searching for an international position , you must factor in currency exchanges, along with the value of international experience. See what I mean with this being a variable, flexible thing?

Now, remember that once you discover what other professionals like you are making, you have to figure in other factors. Whether you’re going to stay in your current position or considering a new one, there are Total Compensation Value variables you must consider while also considering the salary amount. Total Compensation Value is affected by the following factors, which include but are not limited to…

  • Health benefits: health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, a flexible spending account (for out of pocket health costs), health savings account, health reimbursement account, etc.
  • Wellness benefits, including sick days, gym memberships or reimbursement, wellness programs, etc.
  • Parental leave (maternity, paternity, adoptive family leave)
  • Overtime
  • Life insurance & accidental death and dismemberment insurance (grim but we’ve gotta list it!)
  • Disability insurance
  • 401K retirement plan, & employer retirement matching.
  • Stock Shares in the company
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which helps employees deal with situations that are affecting performance (like a divorce or death in the family)
  • Flex-time, remote work & work from home opportunities
  • Vacation time
  • Phone and internet reimbursement.
  • Scholarships or tuition reimbursement
  • Education opportunities, training, conferences, coaching, and other growth opportunities.
  • Company culture and perks, like food, onsite pets, onsite daycare, transportation to and from work, onsite wellness services like massage, yoga classes, etc., discounts for museums, etc.
  • Car allowance
Now that you’ve factored in these components, it’s time to reach out to an external recruiter who can verify your findings.

Not only is it super helpful to speak with an expert about this, it’s a great way to begin a relationship with someone who can help you throughout your career. If you already have said relationship, just contact that person with a friendly request for a 15 minute talk to catch up. Remember to offer them any assistance to help them fill a position through your contacts, so they know that you’re the type of person who “goes with a giving hand”, as I like to put it.

Now you’re much, much closer to asking for a raise in your current position or determining your compensation requirements for your next job, and making a lot more money.

Crush your next job search.