Why Salaries and Resumes Don’t Mix


“Your brother has a job interview,” my dad said over the phone. “He’s going to ask for $X to $X/hr range.”

That’s great, I thought. Getting an interview is awesome anytime, but in this economy? Priceless. For more than a year my brother’s been in a job that continuously lays off its staff for weeks at a time. He has no benefits and he’s living a little hand-to-mouth. He’s okay, but he’d like to be better.

Then my dad said the fatal words. “He also has his desired salary range on his resume.”

Hold on. On his resume?

The #1 bargaining chip you have is your salary range. You give that away up front, and one of two things will happen: You’ll either be discounted before your resume even gets to the hiring manager, or they’ll gladly take you at your lowest denominator, leaving you with no room for negotiation.

“It’s admittedly risky to mention salary requirements in your resume unless the prospective employer has explicitly requested it,” states Resume Tips: How To Determine & Articulate Your Salary Requirements. “Furthermore, it may automatically eliminate you from the employer’s hiring pool, convey your dissatisfaction working at a lower salary, or trap you into accepting a weak compensation package.”

Of course you want an interview. Even better, you want a job. Regardless, your resume is no place for you to give away your sale price. You might as well just hand the potential employer a license to walk all over you. If you must put something down due to stringent application requirements, put a range in italics and include that you are open to negotiation in bold.

And remember, while you’re showing how much you want the job and how much you’ll benefit the company, you also want them to show how they’re a good fit for you. Happy employees make for successful businesses, so give the employer a chance to buy in to what you’ve got to offer. Just because you’re out of work doesn’t mean you’ve lost all your previous work experience and skills. You’re a valuable person with a lot to offer!

What tips do you have for revealing your salary range (if ever)?

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2 thoughts on “Why Salaries and Resumes Don’t Mix

    • And it’s still an employer’s market, so it seems the pressure is even greater to get the prospective candidate to tip their hand–especially with 100s applying for one position.


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