Addressing, Not Stressing, the Issue of Salary

March 06, 2012 by Careerminds

Jennifer Fry
Careerminds Consultant


Often, employers will ask job candidates about salary requirements during the interview process, or maybe not even until after an offer has been made. This makes it nice for the job seeker, if only because a little face time can help build up rapport, and that never hurt anyone during a negotiation. What to do, however, when an employer requests your salary requirement during the preliminary stage of application? Without having spoken to an employer, without having built any rapport or had a chance to get to know the position or the company beyond your independent research, it can be a bit tougher to gauge what is acceptable and what is not.
If during your career transition, you find yourself faced with the task of supplying a salary requirement on the application, here are a few tips to help you through:

  1. Only include salary requirement and/or history in your application materials– application, cover letter, etc.– if it is explicitly requested. If you don’t have to provide it before getting to know your potential employer, why risk stating a salary that’s too high or too low? If you are asked to include it, do. Leaving it out could mean automatically missing out on an interview.
  2. Include a salary range, not a specific number. This makes you appear flexible in case your requirements are not quite what the employer had in mind. You may even explicitly indicate your flexibility by stating that the salary is negotiable.
  3. Keep in mind any additional perks. Dollars aren’t the only means by which you may be compensated. Ideally, you’re looking for the best possible compensation package, including insurance benefits, sick days, vacation time, flex hours, work from home, overtime, etc. Don’t get too caught up on the dollar amount, and let it be known that your salary requirement can be negotiated based upon the entire package.
  4. Know what you’re worth in this position and in your geographic area. Your salary requirement shouldn’t be an arbitrary guess at what they might be willing to pay. Presumably, you’ve already researched the organization and the position, so in addition, research average salaries for similar positions in your area. A simple search on such websites as or will likely help you out in this regard.

Negotiating salary can be a stressful task, especially without having had the chance to meet with your potential employer one-on-one. If you know how to state salary requirements with tact and savvy, you will be able to set yourself up for a successful negotiation.


Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.



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