What if They Ask for a Salary History? My Pay Was Too Low! (Free Guide)

February 26, 2013 at 9:21 am 1 comment

Salary Negotiations

A client asked me this morning, “What if in my job search I’m asked to provide my current salary? I am really worried about people asking this because my salary is sooooooo low.”

Here’s my response (she happens to have had only one job so far, but even a seasoned professional can tweak this to his or her needs):

Avoid giving out your salary information in any case. It’s irrelevant. What’s relevant is your skill set, your distinctive approach to your work, and what those are worth on the open market.


Just because I buy a Picasso at a yard sale for $1K doesn’t mean I won’t sell it for what it’s worth.


If the issue is forced, you can just say that you are grateful to have had a job right out of college that allowed you to learn so much about X, Y, and Z (whatever is most important for the role you are applying to). Of course, now that you have these skills, you expect your salary will be in line with the market.


[Then shift conversation to the job fit…]


Say something like, “It’s natural that you’d want to feel me out about salary before going any further. I can assure you that I just want fair market compensation. The most important thing for me is not salary, but knowing that I’m a good fit with your company and vice versa. Once we establish that, I’m sure we can agree on something that is fair for both parties.”


Also, remember to use websites like Salary.com to prepare for negotiations. You can learn more about my approach in this Movin’ On Up Resumes Salary Negotiations ebook, my gift to you!


To really dig deep on the topic of salary negotiations, I highly recommend the work of Jack Chapman.

Entry filed under: Career Management, Job Search, Salary Negotiations, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , .

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