Lying about your salary history is a bad idea, so here's what to do instead

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How to Negotiate Salary: 5 Secrets

Consider this scenario: you don't feel fairly compensated in your current job, so you start to look around for other opportunities. During the application or interview process, you are asked about your present salary – the same low salary that inspired you to look for a new job in the first place. If you tell the hiring manager the truth, you might wind up with an offer pegged to that low pay. But, if you lie, you'll almost certainly get caught. What to do?

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It might be tempting to pretend you make more than you actually do, but it's important to resist that impulse and stay honest. An employer is likely to immediately drop you from consideration if they find out you are less than trustworthy. If you'd rather not provide that information, fearing that it could result in an offer lower than you are hoping for, here are a few alternatives that will allow you to keep your integrity.

Focus on the Job Description

By conducting salary research limited to job titles rather than the actual responsibilities involved, you may be only getting a snapshot of the salary range that might be available. Make sure you get a job description, compare it with your current one, and explore the variety of salaries that are out there for similar positions. Job titles can be misleading and often fail to illustrate the breadth of duties and skills that need to be brought to the table.

Choose a Salary Range

You're not obligated to declare how much you currently make, and it's a valid concern if you would really like to earn significantly more. PayScale's Salary Survey can help you find an appropriate range for the position under consideration, not the one you're trying to leave.

Make sure that even the bottom of that range is a number you'd be comfortable with, as there's no guarantee that subsequent negotiations would go in your favor. The salary negotiation could well start at that lowest amount, so be prepared with strong reasons if you are planning to ask for more.

Avoid the Question

Unless it's a required field in an application form, you're unlikely to run into a situation where you actually have to reveal what you presently earn. When it comes to negotiating salary, even if you've never had a job before, you give yourself the advantage by not being the one to bring up the subject. Allow the prospective employer to present the first number, and then go carefully from there. You don't need to let your salary history affect the role currently under your consideration.

Related: Salary to buy a home in 19 major U.S. cities

20 PHOTOS
Salary to buy a home in 19 major US cities
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Lying about your salary history is a bad idea, so here's what to do instead

19. San Antonio

Population: 1,409,000

Median Home Price: $192,100

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,096

Salary Needed to Buy: $46,000

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18. Orlando

Population: 255,483

Median Home Price: $205,000

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,115

Salary Needed to Buy: $48,000

Photo via AOL

17. Minneapolis

Population: 407,207

Median Home Price: $223,700

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,172

Salary Needed to Buy: $50,500

Photo via AOL

16. Philadelphia

Population: 1,517,628

Median Home Price: $213,700

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,204

Salary Needed to Buy: $51,500

Photo via Getty

15. Dallas

Population: 2,518,638

Median Home Price: $206,200

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,208

Salary Needed to Buy: $52,000

Photo via Getty

14. Houston

Population: 2,076,189

Median Home Price: $209,200

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,217

Salary Needed to Buy: $52,000

Photo via Getty

13. Baltimore

Population: 640,064

Median Home Price: $233,500

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,233

Salary Needed to Buy: $53,000

Photo via Getty

12. Chicago

Population: 2,824,584

Median Home Price: $209,800

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,352

Salary Needed to Buy: $58,000

Photo via Getty

11. Sacramento

Population: 479,686

Median Home Price: $294,100

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,450

Salary Needed to Buy: $62,000

Photo via Getty

10. Miami

Population: 417,650

Median Home Price: $286,000

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,471

Salary Needed to Buy: $63,000

Photo via AOL

9. Portland

Population: 609,456

Median Home Price: $318,300

Monthly Mortgage Payment $1,538

Salary Needed to Buy: $66,000

Photo via AOL

8. Denver

Population: 649,495

Median Home Price: $353,500

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,596

Salary Needed to Buy: $68,500

Photo via AOL

7. Seattle

Population: 652,405

Median Home Price: $385,300

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,829

Salary Needed to Buy: $78,500

Photo via Getty

6. Washington, DC

Population: 582,049

Median Home Price: $371,600

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,834

Salary Needed to Buy: $78,500

Photo via Getty

5. Boston

Population: 645,966

Median Home Price: $393,600

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $1,940

Salary Needed to Buy: $83,000

Photo via Getty

4. New York City

Population: 8,213,839

Median Home Price: $384,600

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $2,024

Salary Needed to Buy: $87,000

Photo via Getty

3. Los Angeles

Population: 3,794,640

Median Home Price: $481,900

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $2,217

Salary Needed to Buy: $95,000

Photo via Getty

2. San Diego

Population: 1,284,347

Median Home Price: $546,800

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $2,407

Salary Needed to Buy: $103,000

Photo via Getty

1. San Francisco

Population: 777,660

Median Home Price: $781,600

Monthly Mortgage Payment: $3,453

Salary Needed to Buy: $148,000

Photo via Getty

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