Salary negotiation can be nerve racking and have a major impact on your financial stability on a yearly basis. If you’re out of work and desperately seeking employment, it puts you in an even tougher position to balk at a less than desirable offer. Over the course of my time working with job seekers on their resumes and cover letters, I often get asked about how to address salary requirements on the documents. Below are a few tips to consider:
- If you are not asked to submit a salary requirement range or previous salary history, do not provide it unprompted. Doing so could weed you out of the screening process if the employer thinks you’re overpriced, or on the flipside, cause the potential offer to be lower if your range is below what the company was willing to offer.
- We recommend not including this information on your resume unless you are applying for a Federal Job. Federal jobs have set salaries depending on the GS level you qualify for so there is not as much room for negotiation. Federal resumes require that you include the salaries you received at each previous position.
- If an employer requires that you submit your salary requirements on your resume or cover letter, be sure to research the industry you’re targeting to get an accurate idea of what a reasonable salary expectation would be. From there, list a range that covers both ends of the spectrum (ie: $45,000 to $55,000) and typically you will include this in a cover letter. This gives you some wiggle room for negotiation if you get to that stage of the application process.
- The final tip is to be honest! It is easy for an employer to do a little research and figure out what your previous salaries were. Don’t give them any reason to remove you from consideration because you lied about your previous salary.
In most cases, the salary discussion will happen later in the process once you’ve interviewed and been vetted for the new role. In the case of an employer asking for this information early, hopefully these tips will prepare you to be confident in that scenario!