Q: What can I do when my salary
history makes me really expensive in my current job market? I don't want to take
a huge salary cut, but I am not having success interviewing.
A: Ironically, years of experience or
having valuable expertise can sometimes put you in a tough spot and leave you
feeling frustrated and discouraged. You cannot control where your salary history
places you in the job market in your geographic location - other than to move.
On the other hand, there are some actions you can take that may help:
Find out if the reason why employers are reluctant to interview you is
related to your salary history, as you assume. You may be right, but there might
be other reasons, too. In any case, the best way to gather this information is
to persist in asking for it.
Since you may not get an interview if the employer uses salary history as a
screen, try different ways to get in front of their key decision makers. Perhaps
through networking or informational interviews, you may find a receptive
senior-level contact. In that case, you can use that personal meeting to
directly address their concerns about your compensation expectations, impress
and interest them in your skills, and turn them into an advocate in the
Try to target your job search on those companies who pay higher than the
norm for your position. These might be local offices of multinational companies,
or in an industry that has to pay more to attract talent (such as high-tech