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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 interview process.
* 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 firms).
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