Know What You’re Worth
You can’t know how much to ask for if you don’t know what you’re worth on the open market. To know what your time is worth, it’s crucial to stay current in terms of the salaries and compensation packages that are being offered throughout your company and industry.
Even if you know what others at the same company are receiving for the position you’ve been offered, that won’t tell you if your potential salary is high or low for the industry or the area of the country you’ll be living in. To get comparative data, investigate:
Private career counselors (who will likely charge for the service)
Online databases at http://www.jobsmart.org/tools/salary/sal-surv.htm, http://www2.homefair.com/calc/salcalc.html
Internet or newspaper classifieds (general guidelines)
The library (where the research librarian can help you)
Industry or professional organizations (which usually perform yearly salary surveys and will provide results free of charge)
Once you know what the average is for the position you’ve been offered, you can use cost-of-living comparisons to determine how much more (or less) it costs to live in your area of the country. This is information you can use when you negotiate with your prospective employer.