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Salary expectations and your resume

No-one wants to go through the time-consuming process of applying for a position, being interviewed and short-listed, only to discover that the salary on offer is nowhere near your expectations.

Employers, whether public, private or not-for-profit, have an idea of what they want to pay when recruiting (through their budget processes). Despite this, you might think that the most logical approach is to be upfront and state the salary you want in your resume. You don’t want to waste your time or a prospective employer’s time. And you may believe that including your salary demonstrates confidence and honesty.

The reality is that stating your salary expectation in your resume might not be your best step forward. This expert article explores why it’s best to not do so. It also explores when and how to raise the issue of salary.

Incorrect employer expectations

Sometimes employers miscalculate current market value for a skill set. They get it wrong, and you know that because you’re in the game. If you include your realistic salary in your resume, an employer may conclude you’re asking too much, when in fact they’re offering too little. Added to this is the reality of today’s market. To attract the best talent, many employers must increase salaries to be competitive.

Money or opportunity hungry?

These days, employers look for talent driven by opportunities and motivation as much as money. Employers take cultural fit and culture add seriously during recruitment. If you focus on money first up, you may turn these types of employers off.

Robs you of an opportunity

Your resume could get ditched if you include a salary the employer thinks is too high. This is beyond your control and means you could lose out, even if you’re the top candidate. Even if the employer eventually determines they need to up the salary, they may not remember to approach you for further discussion.

It’s a gamble

What if the salary you’ve stated is lower than what the employer thinks the position is worth and is willing to pay for? The employer now has the advantage. They have no reason to offer you more.

Reduced chance to negotiate

If you include your salary in your resume, you’ve made the first move and robbed yourself of the opportunity to negotiate a different amount. It’s best to wait until your prospective employer or recruiter indicates where they stand.

What’s next?

If you don’t include your salary in your resume, when do you raise the issue and how?

As expert recruiters we believe the best approach is to deal with salary much later in the recruitment process, even after you’ve been provided with a job offer.

Salary versus salary package

Remember your salary is a package, not just a wage, so factor in other perks of the job. You don’t want to be ruled out too early because, for example, you’ve forgotten the value of a company car, bonuses for top performance, free parking, medical, additional leave, training to progress your career, or flexibility around work hours.

Negotiable and flexible

When talking money, let the prospective employer know the salary you’ve stated is negotiable. This demonstrates willingness and flexibility, two key competencies sought after by many employers. If possible, hear from the employer first on what they’re offering. This gives you an advantage since you know the starting point and can now negotiate your ideal amount.

When negotiating you can back yourself by stating that you’re prepared to start at “X amount” but would like a review in six months based on performance.

Conduct your research

Research online so you know what salary is realistic. There’s little point in demanding a salary that isn’t market real. Be clear on the going rates for your industry and level.

Use a recruiter

Use a recruiter to support you to negotiate the best deal. Great recruiters will negotiate salary, terms and conditions, taking stress away from your end. They have extensive knowledge and work with salaries and positions every day so know what’s realistic and possible.

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