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Does Salary History Matter to Future Employers?

Does Salary History Matter to Future Employers?

Posted by Kristina Cowan

Your salary history tells an important story of how far you’ve come along a career path, so it’s fitting that a prospective employer might be interested in learning more about your past earnings. Yet it’s unfair to take a salary history at face value, because there are so often back-stories that need explaining.

Career experts say you should be prepared to discuss your salary history with a prospective employer, along with any back-stories. For example, if you changed careers and took a pay cut in the process, you’ll want to share that. Still you don’t want to put yourself at a disadvantage, so it’s important to tailor your approach to the circumstances.

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RN SalariesIn 2010 RNs can expect to see their salaries, and other benefits, grow. More employers are offering sweet incentives such as sign-on bonuses, tuition reimbursement, and more flexible hours in order to entice nurses to work in their facilities.

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Salary History: Irrelevant, Perhaps, But a Likely Topic During the Interview Process

Talking about your salary history probably won’t be the highlight of interviewing for a new job, but you do need to be prepared to tackle it. Here are a few tips to help get you off to a graceful start.

Your salary history may be irrelevant, but don’t be surprised if the topic arises.

Employers could ask about salary history, but it’s often irrelevant because it doesn’t relate to the job for which you’re applying, the market value for the open position, or what the market will bear, says Barbara Safani, president of New York-based Career Solvers, a career-management firm. But if a prior salary was below market value, you should be prepared to explain—maybe your company was struggling and froze salary increases, or you made a career change and took a pay cut. “Whatever the reason, the job seeker needs to be able to explain past salaries but also articulate what they are looking to be paid in the future based on their current market value,” Safani says.

Joyce Maynard, vice president of HR Xpress, a human-resources firm in Rhode Island, agrees. “What a candidate made before may or may not be relevant to the company or job they are applying for now. An interviewer will ask questions around salary history so the candidate has to be prepared to say, ‘I expect that if there was a salary offer it would be based on the requirements of this job.’”

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