Doesn't matter my friend Ghau! Your low-pay is not just your problem, but your employer too.
If you are shy to say your salary, I will say my salary @ 2003, that too after 2 year experience - i did programming, testing, documentation, licensing, cracking, cracking-testing.. Do you know my salary was? Rs. 1500! (AFTER TAX) :)
A word of chanakya - there is no point in continuing in a place where you work hard & paid low!
Your current problem is your low-pay is dragging you behind, that is negative energy & it may lock you with more low-salary if you focus it more.
My advice would be:
If a tricky HR says you cannot command market rate of salary as your current salary is low, try to confuse them saying... as you worked on low-salary for past years, the coming years has to be used to recover it, if the new company pay low, then you might be thinking of hiking salary through another change of company.. as you do not wanted to do it & you are a loyal person of N years, you need industry range salary.
- Be proficient in your skills
- Focus on a particular track like development (highlight your valuable skill in resume, discard testing, chatting like things)
- Find a good company preferably MNC or based on your passion
- Prepare well - add interview questions, certifications too (it won't hamper, but enhance)
- Say your salary is low when asked but with no-guilt
- If they ask the reason why you are low-salary, say your attachment with company & boss, so the loyalty made me work on low salary & do more job, that is a credit for you (Convert problems to Opportunity)
- When negotiating salary, the tricky trend is 30% increase on current salary, so if you have 5 year experience & salary as Rs. 5000 for example you will get only 6500. Do not allow this to happen, find the industry scale of salary, in tier-1 cities 5 year range is 6.5 lakh to 9 lakhs, so try to keep you in the higher range (use your loyalty, multi-skill ability etc. to negotiate, refer Koirala Sir's interview questions book for salary tactics)
Always remember that your core skill should yield the highest pay-value, try to discard the testing, documentation skills, instead focus on becoming a BRANDED PROFESSIONAL, add certification, blogging etc. to grow further.
If you ask in programming, i would say raw-programming is amateurism ... a 5 year guy should have core development skills, good in oops, a couple of design patterns, and high end with reflection, automation kind of stuffs, agile methodologies, couple of certifications.. BE A PRO IN THE RIGHT SKILLS...
As you are in low-salary bracket now & it is hurting your self-esteem, I would say, get out of it as fast as possible & enter a company of good profile which respects your skills & give you a showcasable salary! In coming years you need to recover all the lows with high pays, that is what i do :)
Remember one thing - a fresher is paid 20 thousand startup salary, if we ask his previous salary, IT IS ZERO! :)
Please let us know if you have any queries further.
Architect | Microsoft MVP | MindCracker MVP | BS | MBA | www.jeanpaulva.com