The news is still full of stories about the large numbers of unemployed people in this country. However, the untold story is about people who face chronic underemployment. Not only are their skills sets not utilized fully, their salaries and salary growth suffers as well. Once a person finds herself taking a salary offer that is half of what she used to make, it is then a struggle to regain ground and raise the salary back to where it used to be.
Employers do recognize that the salary growth gets reset every time you accept a position at a lower rate than you normally would because you need a job. However, reputable salary calculators are your best defense against getting low-balled or offered a miniscule salary. Gather your information. Search several different salary calculators for your position in your geographic location. Take careful notes, or even better, print out the salary graphs you find for your particular job of interest. Make sure that the figures you will take into salary negotiations with a potential employer match your education and work experience on your resume.
You may find that the employer will not raise the salary offer even after you have tried to negotiate it. You may also find yourself in a perpetually temporary position, one with low wages and no benefits. If you have to take the temp position, go ahead and do it. However, you will need to set yourself a goal for leaving this position to find something else that pays better, is full time, and is more of what you want.