So how soon should you tell a potential employer what salary you demand? The first interview? After you are hired? On your resume? The best time to reveal this information is after a job offer is given. Until then, you should avoid the subject unless specifically brought up by them. Often they ask something like: “what kind of salary are you looking for?” Your response should be vague on the order of “enough to provide a comfortable lifestyle for my family, but what is most important to me is doing what I love and making a positive impact in my sphere of influence.” Now you sound like a star!
If you are pressed for an actual number, bring up something reasonable and toward the higher end of what you think (or know) the job pays. If they really like you, high-balling them won’t rule you out. However, if you low-ball them, they may low-ball you when it comes times for an offer. In any case, try to avoid the subject until an offer is made or you’ll look like you’re just in it for the money, which of course you are to some extent, but you want to emphasize the ‘make a difference’ side of you.
However, oftentimes online job applications ask for the salary you seek. It is best to leave this blank unless it is a required field, at which point you should write “negotiable” if a number is not required. If a number is required, again, ask for the top range of what you think they will offer and expect less. Don’t put the low end however, because then they might offer less than you are interested in, thinking they can get you for cheap. It is a slippery slope unfortunately, but you should always appear more interested in the job than in the pay and in fact it is best if you ARE more interested in the job than the pay, but it doesn’t always work that way.
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