Boost Your Pay: Create a Sample Compensation Package

In the dog-eat-dog world of getting hired these days, you may feel like taking the next job offer that comes your way. And, perhaps, that’s a good idea. But, the moment you say “Yes” to a new gig, you’re in a powerful position to set your future earnings and benefits. And, since salary budgets have shrunk at most companies, benefits are a great way to make up for a smaller paycheck.

Would you like to work from home sometimes? How many vacation weeks do you want? How much do you value having a 401K?

A great way to prep for a salary and benefits negotiation is to create a sample compensation package that reflects your wishes. In fact, you can create more than one sample compensation package so that you can respond intelligently to any changes during the negotiation.

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From health and retirement benefits to flex-time, vacation weeks and further training, developing a sample compensation package ensures that you can express your specific preferences easier.

Where can you turn to educate yourself about all of the benefits possible?

PayScale’s research center is a great place to compare your compensation wishes to what is typically offered. The research center offers numerous ways to look at benefits.

  • First, you type your profession into the “Salary Search” box in the right column. You may be taken to a page that lists several, more-specific job titles and you pick the one that best suits you.
  • Once you’ve arrived at the page for your job, you can look at typical vacation days, sick leave, bonus, commission, profit-sharing, flex-work and other benefits, along with salary – all by location, experience level, education level and more.
  • “Popular tallies” shows the most common benefits offered for a specific job title. It is a great graph to look at when researching benefits.

Below are some examples of “popular tallies” for three very different careers.

Above you’ll see that the most common benefits for nurses in the U.S. Paid vacations are common while flex-time comes in last. 


Below, you’ll see that the situation is a little different when considering a sample compensation package for a computer engineering gig. 401K availability is a typical offering while paid further education and training is not.

Finally, if you research a sample compensation package for an automotive retail salesperson, you’ll find that flex-time doesn’t even enter the equation and having a company car is uncommon. But, 401K ranks high as a typical benefit, along with paid vacation.

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