The wisdom of negotiation and job search etiquette meet when discussing salary.
It's important not to bring up salary until there's an offer, to give you the best negotiating position.
What do you do if a job application asks for a salary history? Or what if an interviewer asks what you earned on your last job?
Don't give a figure. You may be pricing yourself out of the job (overqualified) or, amazingly, you may be seen as not experienced enough (under qualified). Here's an example:
So either way, mentioning salary too early in the process (before the offer interview) can be detrimental. So what can you do?
When you are sending in your resume with an accompanying cover letter:
Then, in the interview, you can say, "If the job seems like a good fit, [you're] sure an agreement on the appropriate salary can be reached." Notice no mention of any dollar amounts yet!
When you are completing an application that asks for your salary requirements, previous salary, or salary history:
In the initial interview, indicate that you'll discuss it during a hiring interview, but assure them that "salary won't be a problem." Then, find out if you're a good fit for the position and the position is a good fit for you.
Remember the cardinal rule of negotiating: do NOT make the first offer.
For information about salary levels, there are many websites which offer that information. Just be sure to look at job responsibilities, not just job titles, when making comparisons.
Dr. Jan Cannon, Job-Hunt's Mid-Life Career Expert, is author of Now What Do I Do? The Woman's Guide to a New Career, Find a Job: 7 Steps to Success, Finding a Job in a Slow Economy, co-author of Exceptional Accomplishment, and a career professional for 20 years. Visit her website, JobSearchDoctor.com, and circle Jan on Google+ for more career advice and help.