Interviews, Salaries

Expert Advice: Should Salary Be Disclosed On A Resume?

Dear Abby,

Should I put my current salary on my resume? My brother-in-law says everyone does. He seems to make a lot of money and I think he should know.

Upwardly Mobile But Just Not Gettin There


Dear Upward,

Yes, definitely put your salary at the top of your resume and never, ever inflate the amount. Also, whenever you have three aces in your poker hand, you are supposed to tell everyone before the betting starts.

And, I would like you to be my personal guest at my new Dear Abby Casino. Please bring all of your money.



Imagine that you go to a car dealer and want to buy a car. Which strategy do you think will work better:

  1. Tell the salesperson what you can afford;
  2. Ask the salesperson how low they can go; or
  3. Come prepared to negotiate knowing the invoice price and the general profit that the dealer needs to make.

In any negotiation, disclosing your number first is a fundamental blunder unless you are thoroughly prepared and know what’s possible and what your limit is. Even then, you’re generally better off biding your time before you start the negotiation.

Disclosing your salary is shooting yourself in the foot. What is at stake in the negotiation is what you are worth to the company, not a multiplier of what you used to be paid. So, when they ask the inevitable question, be prepared to tell them what you are worth.

  • Find an equivalent job and its salary range online. Start with the salary surveys here at Glassdoor.
  • Get several answers. There are a large number of sources of salary information. Average them and account for the cost of living in your city.
  • Tell the company that you want to agree on a benchmark salary. “Once we agree on that, the rest is easy”, you can say.
  • Present your findings and ask that they give you a similar analysis based on their data.
  • Now you are ready to negotiate about the details of your experience and their compensation philosophy.

When it’s all over, continue to resist the temptation to disclose your salary.