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How much am I worth?


Harry Edelman Pittsburgh, PA

As the question states, how should I be figuring out the salary range that I should be lookkng for? For federal job vacancies, I have been able to find the conversion of military rank to GS level, but for the private market I do not know where to begin.

I understand that there are so many inputs, such as location, professional certifications etc. Are there any tools or data bases that are for transitioning military? Thanks for all of your help!

30 July 2018 6 replies Career Exploration



ACP AdvisorNet Staff New York, NY

Hi Harry,

Thank you so much for your question!

Yes, sadly we do not have a GS-level like calculator for the civilian sector, but we do have a few tips we recommend for figuring out your salary negotiation.

Drew had some great suggestions and I would add that you can also look at the salary ranges at competitors of your company. If they are all within a ballpark range, that could give you a sense of where to begin your negotiation. This article has some of those tips and sites that can help you figure it out:

Additionally, be sure to keep in mind what you need to make to live comfortable in your area. This site helps you calculate that:

Regarding general negotiating tips, Forbes has a good article: I've been told as a rule of thumb that the second interview is a good time to bring it up, if it's not discussed in the first, just so everyone is on the same page as you move forward.

Lastly, it's important to keep in mind additional positives (or negatives) about a job offer, such as their benefits package. Do they have generous paid vacation and medical leave, how many sick days do they offer, do they pay for any certifications or higher education courses you might take for the job, etc. This article covers some of those "extras" you can look for, to help with your decision making. Perhaps one place is offering slightly less, but has a matching 401k and great healthcare package:

I hope this is all helpful and thanks again for your question!

All the best,

Sarah Bass
ACP AdvisorNet Staff

30 July 2018 Helpful answer


Drew Schildwächter Wilmington, NC

I would not focus on your personal worth as a fixed thing, but look at what other people are getting paid in your desired role and make an informed case for the salary you want.

You hit the nail on the head: this can vary widely depending upon other factors. LinkedIn and Glassdoor are good tools where you can look at what the average salary is for a particular role in a particular area in a general sense.

30 July 2018 Helpful answer


Melissa Poole-Knight Erie, CO

Harry. What I learned is that I was worth more than I thought I just needed to ask. It truly depends on the job you are applying for. Let me know if you want to chat further. I was offered six figures initially and given a 20% raise in 6 months.


J Leo Fairfax, VA

Easy places to start are Web sites like However, think from the employers perspective... What's my ROI on me investing in you? Remember, salary is only one cost to me.

Also, military rank and Fed civ pay scale isn't the same thing in all places. Things to account: responsibilities, location, duty responsibilities, and etc. For example, while you can be a company commander (60-200 members) as an 0-3, in civ it's like GS 15/DSL. Some places GS 11 runs the show. If you are comparing just pay - then sure. However, when it comes to applying for those same pay scale positions, you may be surprised.


Jeanne Perdue Houston, TX

Dear Harry:
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has a website where you can find ranges of salaries for various jobs in various areas:
Very handy information!
- Jeanne Perdue
Houston, TX


Harry Edelman Pittsburgh, PA

Drew and Sarah,

Thank you very much for your help, these were some excellent resources that I did not know about!

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