What To Put For Desired Salary On A Job Application

Man thinks about his desired salary while holding his laptop

One of the hardest sections to fill out on a job application is the one that asks you about your desired salary. If you don't know how to answer, "What is your desired salary?" on a job application, that could spell trouble for your job search and preventing you from landing job interviews.

So what should you put for your desired salary on a job application?

How To Answer The Desired Salary Question On Job Applications

@j.t.odonnell What SALARY range should you put on a job application? #jobapplication #salarynegotiation #salaryrange #jobsearch #jobsearchtips #jobsearchhelp #careertips #careertiktok #careeradvice #careertok #edutok ♬ original sound - J.T. O'Donnell

If you CAN put a salary range...

The first number in your desired salary range should be your walkaway rate. That's the lowest amount of money you are willing to accept where you're not going to be looking for another job and leaving the employer for better pay soon after you start. The second number in your desired salary range should be your ideal salary, the amount of money you would love to make. Now, this range can be pretty big. If the hiring manager asks you why you gave that range, say, "Because I need to learn more about the job, what's expected of me, and what's included in the overall package." That way, you'll give a valid reason for that range while still communicating your desired salary.

If you CAN'T put a salary range...

Now, if the employer doesn't let you put a range and you only can put one number, go to the middle of your range and drop it by 10%. That way, you're not offering your lowest salary, but you're not offering your highest. If the hiring manager calls you and asks about the number you put for your desired salary, you can say something like this: "You didn't allow me to put a range on the job application. My desired salary really depends on the job. I would like to make between that amount and up to (blank)."

Remember, you're going to get a chance to talk about your salary range if you get an interview, so don't overthink this tricky job application question. Follow the strategy that I've outlined above based on your situation and you won't screen yourself out of the hiring process by guessing a random number for your desired salary.

Filling out job applications and landing interviews is easier said than done. The good news is I can help.

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