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Q: I’ve heard conflicting advice whether to reveal my current salary when asked. How should I answer such question when asked during an interview?

-Sandy W.

A: Sandy, the reason you’ve heard conflicting advice is that, well, there is always a danger in a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach. If you’re making good money in your current job and want to set the bar at a decent minimum for any discussions, I think it makes sense to go first and say, “This is what I’m making now.” Implicit in that is that you expect a premium above what you’re making to switch jobs.

If you think you’d be coming in at the low end, it can be smart to ask them what they typically pay for someone in that role.

From that point on, the negotiation will depend on the leverage of each side. It’s also up to you how hard you want to negotiate. As long as you can build a clear and factual case for why you deserve X, that’s a fine conversation to have. Any work you can do ahead of time to get a sense of what the company pays is also useful for such discussions.

The final point is about your temperament. I’ve seen some people negotiate so hard that it adds a real sour note to the start of a working relationship.

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How to Jump-Start Your Career

Adam Bryant, the Corner Office columnist, took questions about how to get your career moving in the right direction.



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