Question: How Do I Determine My “Salary Expectations”?

A senior asks:

A few of the jobs I am looking at ask for “salary expectations” to be sent along with my resume and cover letter. Do you have any other advice on how to go about this? 

There are a number of resources available to help you figure out what’s a reasonable salary range for the job.

  • The Living Wage Calculator will help you to determine how much it will cost you to live wherever the job is. It’s not an answer to the question, but it can help you to determine what your absolute minimum is.
  • Glassdoor.com has crowd-sourced information about salaries at specific companies. This information can help you determine what a reasonable salary might be. It also has a “know your worth” calculator.
  • Not all locations for all companies are listed on Glassdoor. You can find general expectations by industry for your area with this job seeker’s salary calculator.
  • This cost of living calculator can help you further contextualize the numbers the other calculators come up with.

However, your “salary expectations” can also reasonably vary depending on your enthusiasm for the job. If you are genuinely concerned that you lack the desired qualifications for the job you really want, then it might be helpful to calculate a number below the low end of the range that could make you a more attractive candidate for a job that’s something of a stretch. On the other hand, if it’s a job that you’re well qualified for but aren’t excited by, it might be worth calculating the salary that would allow you to feel enthusiastic about the position even if the number is at the high end. Both of these strategies involve risk — that you’ll be offered less than they might have otherwise considered OR that you’ll price yourself out of a job that you’d otherwise be offered.

Here’s a useful article on the vexed issue of salary disclosure.

Things to Do at Quad Day

University of Illinois Quad Day.

Quad Day is coming! And yes, you should go.

What should you do there?

  1. Find the college version of something you enjoyed in high school, and sign up.
  2. Find something that will allow you to use your skill with or love of words, and sign up.
  3. Find something that is entirely outside your experience, and learn more.
  4. Find something that seems interesting to you for no particular reason, and learn more.
  5. Register to vote! Lots of political groups will be out registering voters. No, it’s not a hot election year, but

— If you’ll be 18 in time for the 2018 election on Nov. 6, you can register to vote in the primaries, which will take place on March 20 (during our spring break, but early and absentee voting are available).

— Students who register in Urbana-Champaign are eligible to vote in Urbana-Champaign. (You can read more about voter registration in Champaign County here.)

— This Congressional district (IL-13) currently has a Republican representative, and it will be hotly contested in 2018. Whatever your political leaning, your vote can make a difference in this district.

— Your vote counts whether you participate or not. Both parties work from their assumptions about what students-in-general do. The only way to make your vote say what you mean is to cast it.

 

Yes, Internships!

It’s the time of year when internships opportunities for the fall semester abound: paid, unpaid, in the community, around campus, and even right here in the English department.

Should you apply for internships?

YES: Professional experience while you’re still in college can help in three ways: (1) building your skills, (2) helping you explore your career options, and (3) giving you evidence to present to employers of your value.

BUT: Much depends on what your goals are and what the internship offers. An internship isn’t a magic key that unlocks the door of full-time post-college employment. It’s one of many ways to get professional experience.

SO: Read internship descriptions carefully. Think about what you want to get out of an internship and the goals you have. If your goal is simply to get some experience so that you can figure out what career goals you WANT, then it makes sense to apply broadly. If you already have some ideas about your career plans, then target your efforts towards opportunities that will move you along your chosen path. Continue reading