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Community Question | Should You Disclose Your Salary History In A Cover Letter?

When applying for a job, it’s important to follow the instructions listed in the job posting. But recently, a reader at Ask a Manager posed a question about a potential employer’s request that candidates include a full salary history in their cover letters, not just salary expectations:

"I am applying for a position with a nonprofit that has requested me to include my salary history along with my resume and cover letter (emailed to a “jobs@company.org” mailbox). While I am not a fan of providing that information, I am willing to do so but am unsure how to in my cover letter. It feels awkward to add “at my last position(s) I was making $XXX” and then add my closing contact me line. Any suggestions on how to include this and how far back I need to go?"

Alison Green—the manager behind Ask a Manager—was quite frustrated with the fact that the organization asked for salary history in the first place as she believes this kind of information is private and shouldn’t factor into the compensation an organization might offer. She advised the job applicant to address the request but phrase it more in terms of salary expectations, rather than a job-by-job history.

On the other hand, career website Wetfeet suggests including your salary historyas it can demonstrate how your salaries (and you!) have progressed. They also suggest that if you’re concerned that by bringing up your salary history you’ll get paid less than you’d like, be sure to include your salary expectations.

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