Fill In Job Applications With Your Target Salary, Not Past Salary History

Fill In Job Applications With Your Target Salary, Not Past Salary History
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Some online job applications ask you to fill out what you made at each of your past jobs. You don’t have to share your salary history, however, because it’s nobody’s business but yours.

Photo by Georgejmclittle (Shutterstock)

Instead of putting in what you got paid at past jobs and your current job, Forbes contributor Liz Ryan advises putting in the number you’re shooting for in your current job search. So for each past job, put in the same number (e.g., $70K).

No, you didn’t make $70K at all of those jobs — but on the job application you’ll add a note that “All salary figures reported in this application reflect my current salary target.” If there’s not blank comment field to add that note, you can use an extra past job section to add it.

This is a similar strategy for when asked during a job interview how much you currently make — deflect the unnecessary question by focusing on your target salary. If you don’t want target salary to disqualify you immediately, however, you could write in $1, but that sounds a little riskier.

Ryan says that online job applications are usually a waste of time, but if you’re going to fill them out anyway, at least you don’t have to share what you earned at past jobs — information that has nothing to do with your current job search.

How to Complete Online Job Applications Without Divulging Your Salary History [Forbes]


  • I’ve been (politely) declining to state my “current” salary for many years now. Interviewers usually seem surprised by this, but once you point out the obvious principle that you don’t start a negotiation by telling the other guy your bottom line, they generally get it.

    • Same.

      Some recruiters just say ok and move on, whereas I’ve had one press over and over again until it said he would just assume the value.

      There’s absolutely no benefit in me disclosing past income. What my previous companies could afford / choose to pay me does not reflect what my new employers can.

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