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Whether you are conducting a job search or practicing effective career management, you should always know your market value. If you are looking for a job, you can’t effectively negotiate a compensation package, or even know if an offer is fair, unless you understand what you are worth. For those who are content in their present job, it is still wise to avoid complacency about your salary. Falling below the market is a problem that compounds annually and becomes more difficult to fix, particularly if you stay with the same company.

You should always know your worth by doing your homework. There are various websites including www.salary.com that serve as good resources. You can also check with professional organizations in your specific field since they frequently conduct salary surveys. Talking to recruiters who focus on your industry or discipline is another good way to get current information.

When a job posting requests salary history or your desired compensation level, avoid providing specifics. Typically, employers ask for this information to screen out candidates. It helps them narrow the field by eliminating applicants that are priced too high as well as those with low salary requirements, who they consider underqualified. In your response, state that you are much more interested in the overall job fit and growth potential and that you look forward to discussing these issues in person. More times than not, if a company sees your background and experience as a good match with the position specifications, they will not be as concerned with your lack of disclosure on salary.