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The Trick to Negotiating A Civilian Salary

A question that frequently comes up when Marines transition is how to negotiate a civilian salary when your previous one was based on the military pay system.

Consider Your Entire Benefits Package

When asked about your previous salary, do not focus only on your base pay. After all, the salary from your new job will pay for rent, groceries, utilities and other necessities. Be sure to include your housing allowance and any additional benefits when discussing salary.

Know Your Worth

Once you find a job you’re interested in, research typical salaries for similar roles in your geographic area. Many private sector companies will pay higher wages. You can find detailed salary information for a range of professions around the country at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Adjust Your Expectations

In the Marine Corps your pay increases based on your rank and time in service. There are some Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) that will not be as lucrative in the private sector, despite your years of experience. You may need to obtain civilian credentials to be competitive, or undertake a new career entirely. For information on credentials visit Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL). If you are interested in furthering your education or gaining expertise in a new subject area, the Marine for Life Network and the Leadership Scholar Program can connect you with professional organizations and academic institutions around the country.

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