When applying for a position, you’ll run across some job postings that insist you include your salary expectations.

This can be a Catch-22 situation for many, especially if you’re underemployed or soon to be unemployed. You know what you’ve made, you know what you’re worth, and you know what you should ask for. However, you’re also aware of the current economy and don’t want to price yourself out of the market.

So how do you include salary expectations that will meet the employer’s request while keeping you in the running?

The answer depends upon your situation.

Guidelines to Answering Salary Questions

  1. If you’re not worried about personal finances and are confident of what you can bring to the targeted company, by all means name your price. It should be in keeping with salary ranges for the industry and locale, but you won’t have to lowball the figure.
  2. If you’re currently employed but are desperate to leave your company for whatever reason, then you should offer a range of salaries that include the lowest you’ll accept/the salary you do make/and what would be the ideal compensation. For example, you would write: Salary expectations: 60s to 80s (You would be making mid-70s at your present position).
  3. If you’re unemployed and need money, then you should write a range, like #2, but keep it on the lower side and add that the salary is negotiable. Something like this: Salary expectations: 60s to 70s and negotiable.

Although it’s always disheartening to accept a pay cut, it’s also important to remember that you can’t get a pay raise until you’re working at the company. The only way to get your foot in the door may be to accept lower pay. So be judicious in what you write in a cover letter as to your salary expectations.

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