Figuring out your SALARY REQUIREMENT is an incredibly important part of the career transition. Just about every initial conversation with recruiters will include the phrase “what are your salary requirements?”

My take is that I want to be paid fairly for the position, not base my salary off some number I came up with to continue my lifestyle…and my military retirement check has absolutely nothing to do with it.

You’ll get lots of advice about this topic, but here are my thoughts:

1) Don’t give a number or range unless you know exactly what the position is (level, title and role) and have had time to research what the range for that position is.

2) There are a LOT of online resources out there to do research on salary; keep in mind they are not always accurate. (None have been anywhere close to accurate for my salaries)

3) Informational interviews can be KEY. Having mentors that can speak to the specific salary range for that position, industry and area truly help you dial things in.

Don’t ask mentors “Hey, what do you make?” Instead, ask them what they think the appropriate salary range should be for someone with your background and experience going into that role.

4) It is called NEGOTIATION for a reason. More than 90% of HR personnel EXPECT you to come back with a counter-offer. Their initial offer often has some room to grow because of this.

Note: If the offer comes in at the high end of the range you provided, it is not acceptable to ask for more. You’ll just piss people off. You should have done the research in advance.

5) It is business, not personal. The worst that can happen is they say no. If you don’t get a job because you counter-offered, you probably didn’t want to work there in the first place.

Come in way too high and you may have priced yourself out of a job. Come in too low and you have to live with the results. The only way you get this right is by putting in the work to figure out the answer BEFORE you are asked.


  • Michael Quinn

    2018 LinkedIn Top Voice for Management & Workplace

      Army Sergeant Major (Ret), Senior Manager at EY, 2018 LinkedIn Top Voice for Management & Workplace and CEO of HireMilitary – Michael is an expert on the military to civilian career transition and helps people around the world navigate LinkedIn, personal branding, networking, communication, social media and team building.