You’ve been on the market for a while now, and you’re starting to notice a pattern. Employers love your resume, and you’ve been called in for several interviews, but somewhere between the interview process and the appearance of a formal offer, things tend to fall apart. Are you simply being edged out by more qualified candidates? Or is there something off about your salary expectations? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look for answers.
Salary History versus Salary Range
If your potential employers ask you to provide an expected salary range, do just that. Present the highest and lowest salary you’re willing and able to accept. Calculate this range based on what you need to pay your bills, what you think you skills are worth, and what similar salaries look like in your industry and your geographic area (a little internet research can help). This range will NOT depend on your salary history.
Your salary history is a different number altogether, and unless you’re a public employee and this number is published on the web, your salary history is your own private business. Employers will sometimes ask you to provide this history, but you’re by no means obligated to offer a correct answer or any answer at all.
Make Sure Your Range is Reasonable
Of course, as a Junior Account Manager with less than a year of experience, it would be wonderful to make six figures as soon as you step in the door. But there’s a reason why a “range” includes both a minimum and a maximum. Annual salary increases are often calculated by percentage, so if your employers agree to overpay you during your first year, they’ll be locked into this pattern for the duration of your tenure. They know this, so as they weigh your expectations, they factor in the cost to the company over the long term. They also factor in the cost of annual bonuses and benefits like health insurance.
Don’t undersell yourself, but before you present your desired salary, be prepared to negotiate, and expect your potential employers to make a counter offer that’s close to or below the bottom of your range. Rely on your research and don’t allow yourself to be talked down below the average salary for your job, at your level, in your area, in your industry. And don’t let your salary history become part of this discussion—The past is past. The only thing that matters now is your financial future and the future growth of your career.
For salary negotiation tips and other job search guidance, make an appointment with the Des Moines staffing and career management experts at The Palmer Group.