When and How to Disclose Your Salary Requirements

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Many job postings ask you to include your salary history or salary requirements when applying for the position. Employers request salary information for various reasons. If your salary requirement (or salary history) is too high, employers can screen you out because they don't want to pay that much, or because they think you won't be happy working for less money.

On the other hand, if your salary requirement (or your salary history) is lower than the company is willing to pay, they may offer you a lower salary.

To avoid being screened out, and to avoid being offered a low salary, you need to be careful how you describe your salary information.

Read below for tips on how to provide this information without hurting your chances of getting a job, or receiving a fair salary.

What Are Salary Requirements?

A salary requirement is the amount of compensation a person would require to accept a position. Some employers ask job candidates to give them a salary requirement when they apply for a job.

It is the amount of remuneration an employee expects in order to perform their duties at a new company. Salary requirements are based on several factors such as the industry, prior salary history, previous experience, and cost of living.

Salary Information: Include or Leave Out?

First of all, if the ad doesn't mention it, don't offer any salary information. You want the prospective employer to bring up the issue of compensation first.

If you are asked to include salary information with your application, you could ignore the request, but that means you risk not getting an interview. There is nothing employers like less than candidates who don't follow directions.

It is best to follow instructions: however, there are a few ways you can provide required information while limiting your risk of being screened out or offered a low salary.

Tips for Including Salary History

When asked to include salary history, you can include a salary range rather than a specific amount. This gives you some flexibility when it comes to discussing compensation if you get a job offer.

However, if the employer gives specific instructions of how to include salary history, follow those rules.

No matter how you include your history, always be honest. It's easy for potential employers to check your salary with previous employers. Any false information will get you screened out of the application process.

Tips for Including Salary Requirements

When salary requirements are requested, you have a little more flexibility.

One option is to state that your salary requirements are negotiable based on the position and the overall compensation package, including benefits.

Another alternative is to include a range, based on the salary research you've done. For example, you can state in your cover letter, “My salary requirement is in the $35,000 - $45,000 range.”

When stating a salary range, make sure that the range is realistic. Do this by carefully researching what the position is worth. Use salary surveys to determine the average salary for the position you are interviewing for, or for a similar position if you can't find information on the exact job title. Use salary calculators to factor in cost-of-living expenses and to estimate what you should be paid in a particular location. There are a variety of salary surveys and calculators, including industry-specific and geographic resources, available online.

Either way, note that your salary requirements are flexible. That may help keep you in the running for the position and will give you some flexibility when negotiating compensation later on.

How to Provide Salary Information

Salary requirements can be included in your cover letter with sentences such as "My salary requirement is negotiable based upon the job responsibilities and the total compensation package," or "My salary requirement is in the $25,000 - $35,000+ range."

There are a few ways you can include your salary history. First, you can include the history in your cover letter, briefly stating what you earn now. For example, you might say, “I currently earn in the mid-forties.” You can also include an itemized list of your previous salaries (or salary ranges), either in your resume or on a separate salary history page that you enclose with your resume and cover letter.

Related Articles: Salary Negotiation Strategies | Salary Negotiation Tips | How to Answer Interview Questions About Your Salary Expectations

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