Along the road getting a new job, you will be asked what your salary expectation is. At a job interview, what is the best way to ask for a salary increment than the previous job without being aggressive? If you knew your potential employer has a hiring budget of 35K, but your previous salary was merely 20K, what would you do?

Facing such scenario, it is unreasonable to ask for 35K since your previous salary reflects your experience and level of competence. Putting 35K as expected salary in the resume won’t do any good because it places you in a disadvantageous position where you will be competing with people working in the similar role but with way more experiences, weakening your chances of getting the offer.  

So how to know what salary increment you should ask for?

  • Calculate your worth

A price tag is invariably attached to your skill set. Calculating your worth and setting a threshold for a minimum salary are great ways to kickstart if you are struggling to come up with the “right” salary range. But beware that if you switch to a different kind of career field, let’s say from coding to programming, it is unwise to take reference from your previous salary since the skill sets required for these two roles are totally distinctive.
Requesting a 10-15% salary increment, instead of asking for the maximum amount of the budget, is a reasonable thing to do. Put yourself in the shoes of an employer and imagine hiring a candidate with lower salary expectation and less experience. Indeed you need to devote much of your time training him; but in return, a fair amount of money can be saved annually. When he is ready to take on more responsibilities, raising his salary to 35K definitely gives a boost to his morale. On the contrary, if you knew that training is required for that candidate yet he is asking for 35K at the very beginning, why don’t you just hire an experienced candidate right away?

For those bold job hunters, you can also indicate your ideal salary after probationary period, exhibiting your confidence about your self-worth and that you’ll add positive value to the company.

  • A long-term investment

Expecting a lower salary than the company’s hiring budget makes you outshine your competitors in the junior pool. Despite the 35K budget, some employers would rather hire someone with less experience and lower salary expectation because every employee is mouldable. With substantive training and hands-on opportunities, you’ll soon become an asset worthy of 35K.

The nature of the job matters more than the salary increment. Treat this as a long-term investment, and think about how this job can sharpen your competition edge and equip you to embark on a more rewarding career path in the future.