How to Respond to Requests for Salary History

salary history

Understanding Salary History vs. Salary Requirements:

  • Salary History refers to the actual pay you received for your previous jobs.
  • Salary Requirements asks for your expected pay for the new position.

Responding to Salary History Requests:

1. Where to Include Salary History:

  • Include salary history information in your cover letter or as an attachment, not on your resume.

2. How to Respond:

  • Direct Response:
    • If you believe your salary history is beneficial, list your employment dates, employer, job title, and salary in a clear format. If you’ve had a long tenure with one employer, you might list your starting and ending salaries to highlight growth.
  • Indirect Response:
    • If you prefer not to include your salary history, acknowledge the request in your cover letter. This carries a risk of rejection but allows for a more contextual discussion during the interview.

Example Phrases for Cover Letter:

  • “My salary is in the mid-$______s with appropriate benefits.”
  • “My salaries in non-profit positions have varied due to funding fluctuations. If I’m the right fit for your company, I’m confident we can agree on a suitable salary.”
  • “My salary in previous roles ranged from $X to over $Y, along with benefits. Given the confidentiality of my salary history, I prefer to discuss it in person.”
  • “I would like to discuss my salary history during our interview.”

Jack Chapman, author of Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute, suggests:

  • “I’m paid roughly the market value of a [job title] with X years’ experience. Though I’m not willing to publish my compensation package, I’d be happy to discuss it in an interview. I don’t think salary will be a problem.”

By handling salary history requests thoughtfully, you can effectively navigate this tricky part of the job application process.