5 Salary History Tips

  1. Know your position on revealing your salary history before you begin your job search. Do you consider it private and confidential? Are you willing to walk away from a job if the employer demands this information? What if the employer next wants information about your health history? Don’t compromise your values. You can always find work, but regaining your self-worth is much more difficult to do.
  2. Never volunteer your salary history. To avoid the salary trap as illustrated above and to secure a fair wage for your talent, sell yourself on your work experience, accomplishments and merits—not past salary. Accordingly, do not add your salary history to your resume or cover letters.
  3. Be prepared to indicate your salary requirements, but do not volunteer this information until asked or until an offer has been extended. Again, do not state it on your resume or cover letter, as what you believe you’re worth may be too low once you learn job details during the interview. Do some research to find out what you’re worth. When asked, indicate that you believe your talent is worth a range of salary from low (acceptable) to high (desired). By stating a range, you provide yourself and the employer with wiggle room for negotiation.
  4. If an employer presses you for information about your salary history, and if you feel that such information is private, don’t simply say, “That’s private information, and I won’t divulge it to you.” That could be the kiss of death. It’s better to say something like, “I’ve always felt that one’s salary history is a private matter. However, considering my past work accomplishments and talents, I feel a compensation level of (state salary range) would be appropriate.”
  5. If you do divulge information about your past salary history, never lie. Some employers may ask you to verify your salary history or request such information from past employers. If it’s found that you’ve lied, you could be fired.
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