Salary History

salary history

Discussing salary history is something which is relatively common in a job search. Candidates may be concerned that revealing this number too early in the process may hamper their ability to negotiate an attractive salary as part of their compensation package or eliminate them from consideration altogether. Someone who is applying for a job will need to consider when to reveal how much they have been paid in the past for their work.

Salary History as an Employer Screening Tool

Each position within an organization has a salary range. If an available position is posted publicly, an employer may receive hundreds of applications. Asking job applicants to include their salary history with a resume and cover letter is a way for the hiring manager to screen out applicants with financial expectations which are outside of the scope the employer is willing to pay.

Conducting background checks is becoming more common, with employers wanting to be sure they are hiring candidates who will be a good fit for their organization. This process may include gathering information about salary history, as well as confirming the information listed on his or her resume and conducting a criminal record check.

Salary History or Salary Range

Salary history is the actual rate of pay earned from various past employers. As a person moves through his or her working life, the standard expectation is that these numbers will increase over time. A person who has changed careers or started a business may have a different profile and can point this out to a prospective employer to explain why the numbers do not show a steady increase.

The ad may indicate the employer wants the applicant to specify an expected salary range. To avoid being weeded out as a candidate in the early stages, a job seeker may want to include a salary range based on the industry standard for the position. Conducting an Internet search will reveal how much employers are paying for similar positions, and websites like and offer salary information for different positions based on years of experience and location.

How to Handle Salary History Requests

A job seeker has options when it come to responding to a request for salary history. If the employer requests this information with a resume, the applicant can provide the information as requested or indicate she will provide it to the hiring manager at a personal interview.

Each option carries some degree of risk. Providing salary details from previous jobs early in the process may eliminate the candidate from the pool of prospective workers at an early stage. The candidate will not have the opportunity to make a pitch to the employer about why he or she deserves to be paid at a certain level for the position during the salary negotiation process. Refusing to share salary history early on may flag a candidate for failing to follow instructions and eliminate him from consideration.

A solution to the dilemma about when and how much to reveal about salary history is to indicate a range instead of a specific amount right away. A job seeker can provide a more detailed salary history to the hiring manager once it appears likely the employer is considering making an offer of employment.

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Salary History