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Dollars and Sense

Perhaps the most difficult part of any job search is the money

“Follow the money.” That’s what Deep Throat of Watergate fame said. And there’s a lot of truth to that.

Unfortunately for job seekers, talking about money may be one of the most – if not the most difficult part of the process. Unfortunately ×2, it’s even more true for older job seekers who are trying to at least match the salary from their previous jobs.

How do job seekers address their own salary expectations when they don't know where the employer is?

If you’re working with a recruiter, that makes it somewhat easier. Address the subject up front with your recruiter who may have some insight on the matter, or who may be in a better position to breach the subject and share that information with you.

When you’re on your own and the employer raises the subject, “How much money are you looking for?” That puts the job seeker on the spot. How do you respond? If you say what you’re looking for you might price yourself out of a job – especially if you’re competing with some younger applicants. Then again, you don’t want to sell yourself short.

The best policy is what you might expect: honesty. Tackle it head on. The safest answer to what are you looking for is to state what you were making before. “In my last position, I was making $XX,XXX.” Then, there is a number on the table and the employer can work with that.

Then, if the employer wants to low-ball you, you might be best served to just move on.


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