June 25, 2018

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Salary History Required

Often when candidates are asked to include salary requirements when submitting their resume and cover letter, they find themselves in a “no-win” situation. But how do you “play it safe” without turning them off? And, how do you know what a reasonable figure is when you don’t even know what the job responsibilities are or what the entire compensation package is?

You do not want to state an actual number because if you state a number that is too high, the employer will automatically screen you out. If you state a number that is too low, the employer could either end up paying you less than what the position is worth or they might assume that your skills are not worth much and you will find that you are underselling yourself.

Address their request in your cover letter, not the resume. Give the employer a reasonable salary range with the lowest end being slightly higher than your absolute minimum. On the high end of the range, BE REASONABLE. You can state something like, “My salary requirement is in the $40,000 - $50,000 range, based on the job responsibilities and the total compensations package.”

Including salary requirements in the cover letter gives you a chance to bullet-point why you are the right person for the job and emphasize to them that you are worth this money. Let your reader know that this range is negotiable depending upon the position’s responsibilities as well as the total compensation package, including benefits. Your chances of being considered will increase if the employer knows you are flexible and negotiable.

Make sure you do some careful research to find out what the typical salary is for that type of position. There are salary calculators available on-line to determine the average salary, which even factor in cost of living indexes based on geography. Also, do not be afraid to call to the employer; who knows, if you are friendly and upfront about your situation, the hiring manager (or someone in the same level or similar position), might be willing to share some of this information.

Working with an outside third-party recruiter can also often benefit you and help you around this subject. Not only will a recruiter be able to share with you more details of the overall job responsibilities, but also salary ranges the employer has allocated for the position. Furthermore, if your salary requirements are above their client's range, and if you are a great match for the role, a recruiter can be your advocate to the employer why you deserve such a salary. Recruiters usually work on contingency, so it is in their benefit to help you negotiate a salary as high as it can be.

-Resume Doctor provides resume-consulting services and free resume evaluations for job seekers in all industries also offers specialized job market expertise and content to media and employers.

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