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Resume Tip: List Your Salary & Requirement

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The goal is to make it painfully evident how much an offer would need to be in order to entice you to leave your current employer. As a disclaimer, I don’t do this but I’ve seen resumes where current salary held a prominent position next to current title. I didn’t do this when I was looking a couple weeks ago because I forgot, if I remembered I probably would’ve put it on there. With your current salary, which every prospective employer will ask for, should be your salary requirement – the amount it would take for you to entertain the idea of leaving your current employer.

Be honest with your salary requirements. Yes, that number will be higher than what some companies would be willing to pay for your services. If you have an unreasonably high opinion of your market worth, that number could be higher than what any company would be willing to pay. But, would you really want to spend two hours interviewing with a company only to find out they aren’t willing to pay you the minimum in your requirement range? Of course not.

How do you figure out what this requirement is? You can use your friends as data points. If you aren’t sure what’s fair, ask them what they’d take percentage-wise and glean an average. Or, just sit there and think about what it would take for you to jump ship. If you’re unhappy, perhaps it would only take a 5% increase. Some wouldn’t leave for less than 20%.

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9 Responses to “Resume Tip: List Your Salary & Requirement”

  1. Curly Tree says:

    First of all, great site! With regards to salary requirements, you will want to have a reasonable estimation of your worth as an employee. Your amount of experience will also matter. Unfortunately, gone are the days where offers and counter-offers were made with abandon. I still fondly remember a time when hourly rates in many fields were in the triple digits (that was in the 90s). Another thing to consider are the perks. The 401K with match, or the annual bonuses, the flexible spending plan or the pretax commute plans.
    Ultimately, I chose where I worked based on other factors such as the culture, atmosphere and type of work. Money was just one aspect of it. After all, where you work shapes the person you end up to be years later.

  2. Matt says:

    I don’t list a salary requirement on a resume, nor do I ever disclose my current or past salary to a would-be employer. What I make today, and what I made 10 years ago, is between me an the IRS, and what I’ll make at a new company is a function of what value I can add to their business. All you do by listing that information on your resume is hand out free information to be used against you by a company that hasn’t even agreed to interview you yet.

  3. Herb says:

    Sorry, but I’d say that’s horrible advice. You gain nothing by listing past salary and lose the ability to negotiate. By telling them your salary requirements, you’ve already capped the offer they’re going to make. I’d also say it’s tacky to put that on a resume, but that’s just me. I wouldn’t even put salary on the pre-interview app you fill out or give them a specific number if they ask.

  4. jim says:

    Herb – A company won’t pay you more than what they perceive your value to be, they have that number range in their collective heads before they even see your resume. Certainly, by putting it on paper you risk being pegged into the lower end (just as easily as in the higher end) of that range but eventually someone in HR will ask you what your current salary range is and what your requirement is. If at this point you lie about your salary, or fudge it, then you might as well do it from the start and put down an inflated number on you resume.

    If you aren’t leaving for less than a certain amount, why waste your time on an interview if the company won’t offer you that amount?

  5. CK says:

    I’m with the boys here Jim. The key in any negotiation is to make the other party divugle information first. And in this situation that means throwing out a salary number first. You get them to give you a number a to work off of, you don’t give them a number to work off.

  6. Tool Man says:

    I’m also with not telling your salary.

    Basically you want to put off talking salary until you have an offer on the table. Talking about money before there is an offer is tacky and unprofessional I feel. Many employers will be turned off by this aggressive stance. If an employer asks what your salary is and you can’t politely delay your answer (until there is an offer on the table), give the total amount of the compensation package you are getting now (not just your annual salary).

    Key to negotiation is never give away info you don’t have to…oh and never use the term “that’s my final offer” either!

  7. jim says:

    Companies will always ask your current salary before they give you an offer, I don’t know what happens if you refuse to divulge that information though.

  8. CK says:

    Jim-

    The key is not to refuse to answer but to artfully turn the question back at the employer.

  9. NpK says:

    I am not sure if this discussion still holds life. Anyways, after going through the replies so far, my understanding is how well you can market yourself is the key! Any more thoughts on how do one do this?


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