Calculating the Value of Your IT Career
You finally got that interview, or the meeting for that promotion, raise, or bonus. Congrats!
You have the manager's attention and you know that they are ready to talk. Make the most of this time by clearly communicating what you bring to the table, and how those talents and knowledge translate to your salary and benefits package.
If you're searching for a job, there are some first steps you should take. On your resume cover letter, or during your initial meeting request, you should provide a concise opening that convinces the manager to meet with you, describing the essence of what you offer.
During the actual interview or meeting, it's time to show how you deliver above and beyond expectations. This leverages your value, so when it's time to discuss the numbers, you have already set the framework for your salary and benefits expectations.
To determine your value in the IT workplace, it's important to take a broad look at your abilities and achievements. You should show what makes you an indispensable fit for this position, so that you can justify your deserved compensation. Equally important is the road map that brought you to this point in your career. Take stock of each qualification you possess, and be prepared to discuss how each adds value to your career.
Diverse Experience. If you have crossover expertise among several areas, you can save the company time and money by requiring fewer resources to do the work. Be sure to communicate these abilities clearly, as managers will be willing to compensate you appropriately.
For example, perhaps this is a position for security management that requires close contact with database administration. If your particular skill set involves both security analysis and database design and administration, you provide assets that may eliminate the need for extra consulting resources.
Formal Education. Many years of hard work went into earning your bachelor or advanced degree, and this is no time to downplay that effort. Your degree gives you earning power. If your degree is directly related to the work that you perform, your earning power is increased. Don't forget to include any honors you received.
Career Training & Certifications. Demonstrate that you have what it takes to get the job done with your training and certifications. Your contribution is worth more because, for you, there is no learning curve. You're ready to take on the role and you have the stats and credentials to prove it.
It's important to shape your training and certifications around your career goals because certifications are more valuable if they directly relate to the work you are expected to perform. In addition to technical certifications, management training often helps to hone valuable administrative and soft skills that can further advance your career.
Experience. Your previous experience provides valuable expertise that can't easily be replaced. This can include credits earned during your education, freelance work, or volunteer work within the open source community. Review your experience so that it is fresh in your mind during your meeting.
Reputation & References. By the time you completed your formal education, you likely assembled a contact list of professionals who are a part of your network. This network will grow as you acquire more experience and expertise. Your reputation within your company, as well as the high regard the professionals in your network hold for you, are assets that should not be overlooked. Your reputation and references provide insight into your professionalism and your interaction with others. They also serve as resources you can rely on for future endeavors.
Soft Skills. While technical skills will get you in the door, soft skills are the key to advancement. If you hone your communication, collaboration, and problem-solving abilities, your career can take a leap forward in value. With this expertise, you can manage projects and teams with minimal supervision. Employees of this type are worth far more to an employer, so it's important to bring examples of your soft skills to the meeting.
It's important to recognize that it's a mistake to throw out a number or request without first establishing precisely what your employer is getting in return. Be prepared by carefully evaluating the value of your IT career, and you can walk out of your meeting with the salary and benefits that you deserve!