Should I disclose my salary expectations if I come from a different industry?

by Staff - Original publish date: January 18, 2012

Q. What is the best way to respond, if a prospective employer asks for your salary history and salary expectations in your cover letter? My current salary is in a different industry from the one I am hoping to enter. In addition, I have recently completed graduate school and believe my salary should reflect this achievement.

A. I can appreciate why you would be reluctant to state your salary expectations to a potential employer before the job offer. Before you disclose any information, here are three steps you may want to take.

First, ask the recruiter for a job description of the position so you know what the responsibilities are. The job description will also tell you what experience and skill sets are necessary to be proficient in the role.

Once you determine what the job is, ask the recruiter for the salary range for the position. Most recruiters have some idea of what the company is willing to pay for someone who has the necessary skills. Even if the salary range is not what you expect, at least you know how the company values the position. It is then up to you to decide what your value is relative to the company's.

The last step you should take before the job offer is to go to the Salary Wizard, and based on the company's job description, match the job to one of the jobs in the Salary Wizard. This way you will know how much the job is worth in the market and you can then make an educated decision on how to state your salary expectations.

Good luck with your job offer!