Should Your Salary Be On Your Resume?

Executive ResumesSalary

should your salary be on your resume?
One of the uncomfortable parts of a job search is discussion of salary. Most of us don’t really like negotiations over salary and fear that putting our current wage on paper might doom us to repeat it. For the most part, you really don’t need to put salary history on your resume. At the same time, if a job posting asks you to include salary history or requirements when applying, they will be looking for that information when you apply.
Employers have various reasons for requesting salary information. They may want to screen out those who expect more than they are willing to offer or find someone who is qualified and willing to take the least amount of compensation. They certainly want to know you will follow instructions. You could comply with a request for salary history in several ways:

  • attach a salary history to your resume on a separate page
  • include it in your cover letter
  • use a salary range rather than the specific amounts

It should go without saying that your salary history should be accurate. You will be jeopardizing your career when they check with former employers and discover the truth. At the same time, if you think you were underpaid, there’s no reason to avoid saying so if it can be said diplomatically.
Salary requirements can be handled with statements that show your flexibility and willingness to negotiate the overall compensation package including benefits. Here, too, a range can be helpful as long as it is within reasonable limits. Tools like a salary calculator help you figure out what the range for your expectations should be. Salary may not be on your resume, but it is definitely on everybody’s mind, and you need to be prepared to discuss it.

Are You An Underearner? What Your Salary Might Say About You


Are You An Underearner? What Your Salary Might Say About You
Recently, there was an article on LearnVest titled “Hello, My Name is Tom and I’m an Underearner”. It’s an interesting read about the characteristics of underearners and the presence of an AA-type support group called “Underearners Anonymous,” (Who knew such a group existed?) It got me thinking about how salary means more than money: It can affect how others see you, and how you see yourself, like a dirty window on the world.
One of the problems that can develop during a job search is a completely unrealistic idea of salary. It’s easy to undervalue your abilities and ask for too low a wage, or to assume you can demand the paycheck someone with years of experience in your field would get. If you add up your monthly bills and just ask for that much, you aren’t using all the information that should go into salary ranges.
Underearners are people who are not getting the salary that someone with their qualifications would reasonably expect. This could be because they don’t value those qualifications or are afraid to ask for a raise. It could be because they’d have to live up to their potential and they are afraid.
There are a lot of reasons why salary and self-esteem are connected. In some cases, there is discrimination causing salary issues, but this cannot be assumed because sometimes the reason for the lower paycheck is actually performance-related.  You need to dig deeper to find out why that paycheck is that amount.
During a job search and interview, salary is a subject that you should be prepared to confidently discuss with a prospective employer without being demanding. The more you understand your worth, the easier it is to see that you deserve (earn) a wage that is accurate. There are two excellent resources available to you:

  • Job Search Resources — this page has a wealth of information, including salary calculators and self-assessments
  • Job Search Success System — this is a full course that will give you the skills to show your worth accurately to potential employers.

When you are getting the salary you should be getting, it’s like seeing your world through a clean window.

What Are Your Salary Requirements?


What Are Your Salary Requirements?
It seems rather unfair that even after submitting a great resume and cover letter you still have to deal with tricky interview questions. The salary question is one of the most dreaded of all interview questions. It’s not surprising that few people are able to answer it in a professional manner beyond the standard “I expect to be paid what I’m worth” statement. For the job hunter, you need to understand what it is that your interviewer is really asking.
When the interviewer asks, “What are your salary requirements?,” what he or she is really asking is whether or not you have a realistic salary expectation and if you are flexible about the amount. This is also why the interviewer would like you to list an actual dollar amount.
Finding out what you are worth is easy enough. Visit one of the websites that offer salary ranges and see what you can expect. Be sure to account for your education and experience. Location is important as well; salaries in New York City are generally far higher than in Trenton, Tennessee. Once you have that information you are ready to respond.
How should you respond to that question? Don’t shout out a number, but state that based on your education, experience and responsibilities of the position that $60-65,000 (or whatever amount you found) would be reasonable. Mention that you are flexible and would certainly consider benefits.
While it is important to be seen as flexible and as someone who can be negotiated with, don’t settle for less than you can honestly afford. Most companies will be fair simply because if they aren’t you will move on to one that is and they have time invested in you. Still, find out what you are worth before your next interview and you will be prepared for this tricky question.

How To Negotiate The Salary You Want During A Job Interview


Salary Negotiations
You have accepted a job offer knowing that the salary is not as much as you were hoping or needing. But you need the job, thinking that you will get raises. What if you don’t? And to top it off, the next person they hire for the same type of work just a few weeks later is making quite a bit more. What happened?

  • You need to negotiate in the beginning to get the salary you want, or else you just may be stuck, just like you are. It’s not as hard once you get the hang of it. If the company just will not negotiate, you still have a shot and at least know you tried.
  • One important thing to remember is that the company is going to try to go with a wage or salary as low as possible. You want more and they want less. This is the basis of negotiation. Be confident in what you bring to the table and how your expertise will help the company. That will be your focus in negotiations.
  • Remember that it is give and take. It’s almost like bartering for an item (garage sales, eBay!). You eventually meet in the middle. So, recognize that you may have to agree to something that is still less than you want but more than was originally offered. This will be a positive bargain for you.
  • Make sure you are flexible. If the company thinks you are being too constrictive, they will back out. Be sure to watch the body language and you will be able to tell if they are listening to you or are backing up.

The first couple of times may be nerve wracking but once you get used to the process, you will be able to negotiate like the pros. You never know, you just might get what you want.

Determining how much you're worth

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With so many people currently seeking employment, a big question on many minds is how to decide what your job skills are worth.  What salary are you willing to accept?
Your first task is to research: research, research, research.  If you have a friend at the company, ask them how pay works there, and if they know anything about the position that you’re trying for.  Some companies have tables of top, medium, and low pay for each title.  This information can come in really handy when negotiating.
Especially look at new employee salary, if available.  Keep in mind that their idea of proficiency may not be yours, just saying that you’re proficient in French doesn’t make it so in their eyes.
Call HR and get the name and full list of responsibilities for the position that you’re interviewing for.  You can use this information to find a benchmark position online — essentially the commonly used title for what you’ll be doing.  This will allow you to do accurate salary research.
Through various sources online you should be able to find salary ranges for different positions.  If women’s and men’s pay information is available, use the men’s, even if you’re a woman!  Unfortunately, it’s likely to be higher; in this way you can ensure that your negotiations are as fair as you can make them.
Take into account that location is a big factor in pay rate. What’s the cost of living at the job location?  If possible, get average pay rates there and figure out what the salary range for your position is in that area, if you can’t find the specific numbers on that.
Often, employers like to ask about your salary requirements in advance.  They can use this factor to weed out expensive employees or to offer you less, if you were previously underpaid.  Instead of giving them this leverage, whenever possible, avoid giving any information.  State that it’s negotiable, based upon job responsibilities.
If it’s impossible to avoid completely, give the range that you’ve come up with from your research.  And when in negotiations, start at the top of that range, because you know the company is likely to want to start at the bottom.
Research has shown that women are less likely to negotiate for a higher salary than men are. It is believed that this is a factor that leads to lower pay for women.  Women, take this into consideration: you are expected to negotiate. It is not unseemly to do so, in a polite and professional manner.
Do ensure that you go in knowing exactly what you’re willing to accept.  Otherwise, you may feel pressured into accepting an offer that you’re not really willing to live with.
If the salary you’re offered is far below the range that you expected, verify that the list of responsibilities you used is correct.  Verify the position title.
Keep your tone polite, even if you believe they are being unreasonable. Remember, everyone is a contact, in the business world.  The last thing you want to do is burn a bridge.

Answering the Question, "What are your salary requirements?"



Let’s look at what you should do if salary comes up in the early stages of the interview:

“First, YOU SHOULD NEVER BRING THE TOPIC UP! Never, never, never bring up salary questions until you have a JOB OFFER! But, if they bring it up, you have to address it, even Though it is inappropriately early. In the early stages of the interview, wanting to know your salary requirements is simply a ‘screening tool.’ In other words, they want to know if your salary is realistic for the position – is it too low, meaning perhaps you aren’t as qualified or appropriate as you seem, or that you are higher than the salary range they had set.

Now, if you are higher, you are probably thinking that you would want to address this early on and not waste your time – no! Stop for a moment and think, have you ever bought something that cost more than you set out to spend after you heard about its value? Perhaps a car with added features or a house or even a washing machine? Three positive outcomes could come out of this interview even if you are out of their price range:

A. You could convince them that you are worth the extra investment.
B. You could create a new niche for yourself.
C. You could be put into another position other than the one for which you interviewed.

So, why burn your bridges with a straightforward answer that might ruin your chances for consideration? You must play the salary game. Here are a few ways you might offset this question being asked early in the interview:

A. ‘At this early point in the interview process, I don’t feel that either of us has gained enough information to value my skills for the job yet. Could we please address this at a later point in the interview process?’

B. ‘What’s important to me at this point is not so much the salary, but whether I am the right person for the job. I am certain if we both end up agreeing that I am the right person for the job, we’ll be able to come to a fair agreement, don’t you think?’

C. ‘I’m negotiable, what do you have allotted for the position?’

With answer ‘C,’ you are likely to experience one of two answers:

A. ‘We haven’t determined that yet. . .’
B. ‘The range for the position is $XX to $XX. . .’

With the above, don’t feel that you have to commit to a number in the range. I once dealt with a student who, in interviewing for a job, used answer ‘C.’ The employer responded with, ‘The position pays between $12 to $15 an hour.’ The applicant thought for a moment, decided that she was too experienced for $12 but not experienced enough for $15, so she said, ‘$13.50.’ She was hired at $13.50. The next applicant we sent a few months later was coached not to feel she had to pick from that range. She kept her mouth shut and was offered $15 with the same level of skill as the first applicant!

At this point, the interviewer might accept your brush-off answer, or they may decide to push for a commitment. You might next be asked, ‘You must have some idea of your financial needs?’ or ‘Certainly you have a range in mind?’or even, ‘hat’s the least you’ll take?’ Well, you can’t get around this. What you must do is have a range of pay to offer the employer with a very limited commitment to any particular dollar amount. In order to do this, you have to do your homework first on salary issues including:

A. Your financial requirements (wants and needs).
B. What the market will bear (range of pay for this job in this marketplace).

”A’ should not be too hard; you just need to do your budgeting. Never go into an interview without some kind of concept of what you want to make, need to make, and how realistic that amount is for your market and level. For instance, you should not be interviewing for a receptionist position in a small office in Florida if your salary requirement is $22.00 an hour. The most you could reasonably expect to make in this position is probably $9.00, and that could be on the high end.

A. Salary Survey and Pricing Yourself

Determining rates of pay for the position can be a little more complex, unless of course the company published a range. Some of the methods you can utilize to determine salary is:

A. Competitive research: Visit competitor’s websites to see if they post salaries.
B. Professional associations: If you are a member of a professional association for your industry, contact your local chapter. To join or gain information, visit your public library and ask the Reference Librarian for The Encyclopedia of Professional Associations.
C. Visit salary information Web sites such as and

Once you know your needs and what the market will bear, you are more prepared to handle this question. Stick to a range. Never, never say, ‘the absolute least I’ll take is. . .’ or ‘my ideal salary would be. . .’ Trust me, you could very easily have just undersold or oversold yourself too early in the interview process!

Stick with a non-committal answer such as:
‘As I mentioned, at this point I really don’t feel I have enough information to commit to a dollar amount. However, based on my knowledge of salary ranges for this position and my personal salary requirements, I am expecting the position pays somewhere in the $40s. . .’


‘I’d prefer to leave this topic until we’re more certain about my appropriateness for this position. However, I am expecting that the position will be somewhere in the $60s. . .’

See, that isn’t too hard. Again, it is just a matter of doing your homework and knowing your
guidelines so that you don’t sell yourself out of the job.

Also, if an employer asks you, ‘Would you accept $XX,XXX for your salary,’ you MUST counter with, ‘Is that an offer?’ If it is not an offer, refer back to one of your earlier answers about not being sure yet, etc. You are just being tested.”

An excerpt from Career Directors International Employment Interviewing Course