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What To Put for “Desired Salary” on a Job Application

by Lily Morgen
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Desired Salary

“What is your desired salary?” or “What is your salary expectation” is the common question that you will encounter on a job application or during an interview with a hiring manager. 

This question can be difficult to answer, especially if you are not sure what the company’s budget is for the position or what other candidates will be applying for the same role.

Here are some tips that may help you answer this question well and increase your chance to get the desired salary.

1. Do Your Research First

Learn Average Salary for the Position in Your Area 

The first thing you need to do is research the average salary for the position you are applying for in your area. You can use sites like Salary.com or Glassdoor.com to find this information. 

Once you have an idea of the average salary, you can decide if you want to lowball your number, ask for the average salary, or go above and beyond the average.

If you are applying for a job that is in a lower salary range, it is perfectly acceptable to lowball your number. For example, if the average salary for the position is $50,000 per year, you could put down $45,000 as your desired salary. 

This shows that you are willing to work for less than the average salary and can be a good bargaining tool during negotiations.

However, if you are applying for a job that has a higher salary range, it is best to put down the average salary or slightly above. For example, if the average salary for the position is $100,000 per year, you could put down $110,000 as your desired salary. This shows that you are confident in your skills and experience and are worth the extra money.

Company’s Budget 

It is also important to keep in mind the company’s budget for the position when deciding what to put for your desired salary. If you know that the company has a limited budget, it is best to lowball your number so that you are more likely to get an offer. On the other hand, if the company has a large budget, you can ask for a higher salary.

Your Competition Among Other Candidates

Meanwhile, it is important to consider the other candidates who are applying for the same position. If you know that there are other highly qualified candidates, it is best to ask for a lower salary so that you are more likely to get an offer. However, if you feel confident that you are the best candidate for the job, you can ask for a higher salary.

2. Not Recommend to Discuss Your Desired Salary At the Beginning of the Application

You may be asked the desired salary question at any time during the job interview as each company’s hiring process is different. You may be asked to fill in the blank of the “desired salary” the first time just you submit your resume,  or you may be asked at the final job interview. 

If the application requires you to fill in the field, you can put in a range rather than an exact number. For example, you could put “negotiable” or “$40,000-$50,000.” By putting in a range, you are giving yourself some wiggle room during negotiations.

It is always best to wait to discuss your desired salary until you have been given an offer.

3. Not Discuss Your Desired Salary Until You Have Been Given An Offer

The reason you want to avoid discussing your desired salary early on is that it can give the employer an idea of your worth and they may use this information against you during negotiations. 

If you are asked about your desired salary before the company wants to hire you, and you give a number that is too high, the company may feel like you are not worth the money and they will move on to another candidate. 

On the other hand, if you give a number that is too low, the company may think that you are not qualified for the position and they will also move on to another candidate.

It Would Be Easier To Negotiate the Salary If the Company Recognise Your Value

It is always best to wait to discuss your desired salary until you have been given an offer. This way, you are in a better position to negotiate for the salary you deserve.

When you’re offered a job in the interview process, the company has recognized your value to their company, and they will express their expectations to you, and you have a much better understanding of what the position requires. 

If you try to negotiate salary before that, you will be at a disadvantage. You haven’t had the opportunity to discuss how your abilities and expertise can benefit the company, and you’re not sure if the employer wants to 

4. Be Prepared to Negotiate

Once you have been given a job offer, it is time to negotiate your salary. If the company’s offer is lower than your desired salary, don’t be afraid to negotiate. The worst they can say is no.

It is always best to start by asking for more than what you want. For example, if you wanted to make $60,000 per year and the company offered you $50,000, you could ask for $65,000. By asking for more than what you want, you leave room for negotiation and are more likely to get the salary that you deserve.

It is also important to be prepared to justify why you are worth the salary you are asking for. For example, if you are asking for a $10,000 raise, be prepared to explain why you deserve the raise. 

Are you working longer hours? Have you taken on more responsibility? Are you bringing in new business? Be prepared to back up your request with examples of your hard work.

5. Your Worth is More Than Your Salary

Remember that your worth is more than your salary. When you are negotiating your salary, be sure to keep this in mind. If the company is not willing to meet your salary demands, there may be other benefits that you can negotiate such as more vacation days, flexible hours, or a signing bonus.

6. Don’t Settle for Less Than You Deserve

It is important to remember that you deserve a salary that reflects your skills and experience. Don’t settle for less than you deserve just because you are afraid of asking for more. By being prepared and knowing your worth, you will be in a better position to negotiate the salary you deserve.

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