Handling salary negotiations can be tricky. Would you laugh if someone told you to put down how much you’ve earned under each job listed on your resume? Obviously, yes. Why on earth would you do that? But what if an employer directly asks you to tell them how much money you made in your previous positions? Um... excuse me? Chances are you’ve had this happen before. This request is an all-too-often ploy used by many employers to try to force job seekers’ hands into showing their salary "cards" and effectively sweeping any negotiation power out of the candidate’s hand. Many unemployed people are afraid if they don’t "play nice" in the employer’s cat and mouse game of salary negotiation, they'll lost the job offer. Have you experienced this at some point in your career? Then you know the drill. You are in the hot seat for an interview. Things are getting towards a definite "close" and it is clear a deal is now in the works. Then the employer drops their bomb in an interview by casually asking, “So, what are your salary needs,” or “What are you earning currently,” . Maybe in the application process, they require you to state your salary history or requirements in your cover letter. So, it all comes down to this moment. Time to deal the cards and start playing strategically…what you do now completely impacts your financial earnings over the course of your entire career. So what is a job applicant to do? What are your options? Here are five approaches you can take when it comes down to handling the thorny issue of salary negotiation. There isn’t any "perfect" way to negotiate because each situation is subjective to the company culture and the person interviewing you/making the hiring decision. But being educated about your options and also having a good "read" on the internal company environment can help provide you with the necessary business intelligence on the best way to approach this discussion.