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You would be surprised at just how quickly negotiation begins. Often, the very first phone call you receive from human resources will be to get an understanding of where you are today, and where you want to be.

It’s important to be prepared for this question. So before you embark on switching jobs, cities, or career fields all together, you need to do some research.

There are a number of places you can look for information. Here are a few ideas:

  1. – is a website that provides salary industry averages by city. It provides data points on the lowest 25%, what the middle 50% are making, and what the upper 75% are making for a particular job in a certain area. The site gives you the option to pay for extra information, but I always stick with the free report. It’s not exact, but it will get you in the ballpark. One note on this site: more than one person has told me they think the site provides over inflated salaries. I haven’t found that to be the case. If you’re finding it to the be the case, you may want to brush up on your overall negotiation skills.
  2. – Glassdoor is one of my favorite sites for salary research, and I’ve mentioned it in my writing before. The site allows employees to anonymously report their salary by position. So, you can search for a particular company and a certain job. For example, if you search for FedEx jobs in Memphis, you’ll find that 144 people have reported their salary for the Senior Programmer Analyst role. On average, people in this role make about $85K. They range anywhere from $69K to $96K. That’s pretty helpful information, right?
  3. – GuideStar is a website that allows you to search for information about your favorite non-profits. If you create a free account on their site, you can download the Form 990 for most non-profit organizations. Form 990 is the annual reporting return that most non-profits must file with the IRS. It provides information about their mission, programs, and finances. In addition, it typically lists their highest paid employee’s salary. Unless you’re applying to be the CEO of a non-profit, you won’t find your salary listed. But, the CEO’s salary is still a guide. If you know that one non-profit’s top paid employee is making $40K, and another non-profit’s top paid employee is making $200K, it should give you an understanding of how lower level employees may also be compensated.
  4. The Company Website – Some companies list the pay grades on posted jobs for internal employees. If you’re switching jobs within the same company, be sure to check this out.
  5. The Recruiter – Very often, if you ask the recruiter for a salary range, they will give it to you. This is another great, and very accurate, source of information.
  6. Friends and Colleagues – This is probably the toughest place to look for this information. But occasionally, there’s an opportunity to share information with those who work in a similar industry or role as you. Sometimes, they can be friends who work in different cities — or at different companies. Use your best judgement but, at least consider this conversation if the opportunity arises.

When you start your job search, you want to be armed with information. For example, don’t expect that if you move to a more expensive city to work for a new company that you’ll be given a cost of living raise. You will be paid market value for that particular job in that city – and the only way to know the market value is to research it.

Once you have an idea of your value, you will want to decide what your target range is. What’s the lowest you would go? And, where would you like to be ideally? From there, you’re ready to negotiate. Check out my previous articles for tips on starting a successful negotiation, and best of luck!

As a reminder, the Copeland Coaching Podcast launched last week! This Tuesday and every Tuesday, I will interview an expert in the field of job searching – including coaches, recruiters, financial experts, and more!

You can listen to the podcast in two ways. First, it’s available for free download on Apple Podcasts. You can also listen on So, whether you want to listen on your desktop, laptop, mobile phone, or tablet, you’re covered. Listen from wherever, whenever!

And speaking of finding a job, I’m searching for a Social Media Intern for Copeland Coaching.

This person should have extremely strong organization and time management skills, with the ability to work independently and meet deadlines. They should have excellent written and verbal communication skills.

At a minimum, they should have experience personally using social media. But, it’s not critical that they’ve used social media in business before. This will be a great learning opportunity for the right candidate.

This is a paid internship, and the intern may be located in Memphis or may work virtually.

The full job description is located here (note: this is a PDF document). Interested candidates are asked to send their resume, cover letter, and social media links to

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


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