A major disadvantage of moving from academia to the hamster world is that you probably don’t know how much you deserve to be paid. However, many companies ask you to provide your rate in a cover letter, or they’ll ask you in an interview.
What do you say? Grad students are notoriously low-paid, and if you throw out what you actually made last year, the company will lowball you or laugh in your face because you seem desperate.
Here’s where Glassdoor.com comes in. If you register for an account, you can research companies and find out what people are making in certain positions. This also includes hourly employees if you are considering contract work. Employees post their salaries and comments on the company anonymously. While the site is limited toward larger companies, you can still get a better idea of what you can expect to earn when you change jobs.
The comments section is also eye-opening, but as you know all too well with Rate My Professors, most people go to the site only when they’re royally pissed off. A low rating on Glassdoor.com might not mean much, but you should still read the comments to look for trends relating to the company as a whole. For example, if most of the comments mention major overtime or underwhelming health insurance, you might want to reconsider sending your resume.
Image of Disney’s Hollywood Hotel Café by Bvld11 under a Creative Commons license, from Wikimedia Commons.