CareerOwl Featured Career Article

Answering Questions of Salary
copyright © by Kevin Donlin

You want a higher salary in your next job, right?

Yet, you're worried about discussing salary, right?

Kevin Donlin
Kevin Donlin

If you're like most people, you answered, "yes" to both questions.

Let's face it, discussing salary is a touchy subject in any job interview-- what if you ask for too much or not enough?

Here's how you can navigate the salary question and position yourself to make more money, before and during the job interview.

First, when replying to classified ads that ask for salary requirements or a salary history, I advise you NOT to answer directly. Because, in my view, any answer will hurt your chances.

Remember that a typical classified ad can produce hundreds of resumes. And a fast way to make that pile smaller is to weed out applicants who are either too expensive (over-qualified) or too cheap (under-qualified).

So, in your cover letter, I would simply say: "My salary requirements are negotiable." This shows you've read the ad, but are choosing to dodge the issue. Most HR professionals and hiring managers I've talked to won't take offense. On the contrary, it gives them one LESS reason NOT to call you.

What about salary questions in the interview? These require advance planning.

You can say: "Well, I'd like to make as much as other employees with my qualifications." (Here you can repeat 2-3 of your most valuable skills or achievements, just to remind them how qualified you are.) Then add: "And what is a typical salary for this position?"

Another strategy is to avoid a specific salary ... and name a pay range instead. Say: "I was thinking of a salary in the $25,000 to $35,000 range," (with $25,000 being the lowest amount you'd accept). That way, you can name
a higher figure, if they try to pin you down, yet still be able to retreat to a point that satisfies you.

Finally, information is power here. If you can back your salary request with a list of average salaries you've obtained from the Internet or from phone calls, you'll enjoy greater leverage in your negotiations.

Best of luck to you!

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Kevin Donlin is Managing Editor of 1 Day Resumes. The 1DR writers provide same-day, one-on-one resume writing assistance. He is also author of "Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed," a do-it-yourself manual that will help you find a job in 30 days ... or your money back. For more information, click here.

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