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Providing Your Salary History

Is My Salary History Any of Their Business?

Many employers obviously think that your salary history is their business, but there are varying opinions about whether or not it truly is.

Oddly enough, it's illegal for U.S. employers to ask you certain personal questions; yet, they get away with poking their noses into your income, something so personal that you might not even share it with your best friend. Go figure.

Unfortunately, there are no labor laws that deter employers from demanding your salary history or recent paycheck stubs. So, the less employers are challenged in that arena by job applicants, the more they'll try to get away with poking their collective big nose where it doesn't belong.

Most employers offer competitive salary ranges, by referring to salary data that they purchase from research companies. So, employers already know in advance what range they're willing to pay you for the job you do, whether or not you provide your salary history.

Even so, according to Joan Lloyd, employers (and recruiters) ask for your salary history anyway, just so they can determine if you are even in the right ballpark. In other words, she essentially take sides with employers; but, she still suggests sidesteps to comply without locking yourself in.

Meanwhile, The Headhunter takes different stand, by indicating that your salary history is none of an employer's business, period. Subsequently, he suggests how to avoid such requests in the first place and if they happen anyway, ways to tactfully sidestep them.

If you think that your salary history is confidential or has little to do with what you're worth on a new job, then consider trying the sidestep techniques suggested by the experts. (See the samples linked below for letters that employ similar techniques.) But, be aware that you might limit your job opportunities by not complying 100 percent.

On the other hand, also be aware that employment is a two-way street. If you prefer not to work for nosy employers who overstep their bounds, exercising tactful sidestep techniques is one way to screen them, just as they use your salary history to screen you. Surely, all but the most naive or self-righteous employers know that requesting your salary history is at least a heck of a lot to ask, if not a blatant invasion of your privacy.

So, if your resume and cover letter shine, and employers are truly interested in your skills and honestly willing to pay you what you're worth, then they'll likely overlook the fact you didn't comply 100 percent. If not and they insist on seeing your complete salary history anyway, it could be a sign that unwarranted demands will continue on the job.

If you think that your salary history is an employer's business or if you simply don't want to risk losing even one job opportunity, then whether or not to provide it is a no-brainer; that is, unless you don't know how to do so. For help, see the samples linked below.

Salary History Samples

For samples from the Web, see Salary History under Letters. Included are links to free salary history samples that you may download or copy right from your screen, courtesy of Sample letters that attempt to tactfully sidestep salary history requests are provided too.

See also Salary Requirement Letters for samples of same. This link is also provided on all of the pages linked in the paragraph above.

Providing Your Salary History
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