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Resume Etiquette: How Do I Include My Salary History?

After finding a job listing you are highly qualified for and have a strong interest in applying to, you notice at the end of the listing it says “include salary history on resume.”

Salary History

What should you do? Salary history can be used by employers to weed out resumes in efforts to get hundreds of resumes narrowed down to a select few.

Writer Nancy Hatch Woodward interviewed several human resource managers and reported in HR Magazine (February, 2000) several reasons that employers ask for salary history including:

  • Salary histories provide a quick screen and a fast way to exclude those with an unmatched salary history.
  • They tell employers what the applicant’s expectations for the job might be.
  • Salary histories also provide a quick idea of the level of responsibilities the candidate held at previous jobs.
  • They provide insight to the integrity of an applicant. If persons list their salaries higher than they were, that’s not a good indicator.

Keep in mind if you choose to ignore the request completely your resume could be considered incomplete versus considered for employment.

Replying to Salary History Request

To gracefully reply to the include salary history on resume request try the following:

  • You can try to stall giving your salary history by acknowledging the request in your cover letter by saying “I look forward to discussing my salary history in detail during an interview.”
  • If filling out an application form that has sections for salary history, write “will discuss salary history at interview.”

If you do decide to include your salary history, include a section on your resume titled “Confidential Salary History.”

Under this section include the following:

  • List total compensation including bonuses and tips.
  • Include a list of top accomplishments for the compensation earned.
  • Consider including beginning and ending salaries to show a respective progression.