/ Asked by Christine
I have been unemployed for nearly 6 months, after serving as a paralegal in a public corporation for over 17 years. I recently applied for a position as a legal assistant. Based on information in the job posting, the job responsibilities are similar to the duties I performed as a paralegal. The online application insisted that a salary requirement be provided (not a range, no putting "negotiable," etc. - just a single amount). I admit I was a bit thrown off by this ... and I inserted an amount that was about 16-17% less than I made as a paralegal. But now I'm concerned that amount was too high (based on the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational labor statistics for paralegals and legal assistants in my state). If they reject my application solely because the salary amount I provided was too high, is there anything I can or should do to let the hiring manager know that salary is negotiable?
Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on Monday, March 24, 2014
Yes, those very pointed questions about salary expectations can be tough. However if you are confident about what your services are worth and what the position will likely pay then it can work to your advantage. Those questions should come up during the first interview anyway so this just gets right to the point and saves time. Regarding contacting the hiring manager, there’s nothing wrong with sending a professional, brief, introductory communication to the hiring manager and including your point about the salary being negotiable. This would act much like a cover letter. Of course, this assumes you have the hiring manager’s contact information. If you don’t then rely on the accuracy of the dollar amount you entered into the application and leave the ball in their court.
Answered by Ellen, Hiring Expert at Hospira, on Tuesday, April 8, 2014
For sure you can let the firm know that salary is not your main driver.  Feel free to email or call the company to express your interest and let them know salary is not the only part of your decision.  You can discuss it it about your career opportunity and how you can make a high impact with your knowledge. If you get in touch with the firm you may be able to differenciate yourself from the rest of the applications.  Good luck.
Answered by Sharon, Hiring Expert at Mutual of Omaha, on Monday, May 12, 2014
When applying for positions, list the salary you are willing to accept. There are generally comments boxes on all applications and that is where you can indicate that your salary is negotiable.
Answered by Dawn, Hiring Expert at Daikin Applied, on Monday, May 12, 2014
Salary questions can be quite tough.  I always encourage candidates to be honest in their value assessment based upon their skills, education, and abilities.  At the same time, you must also be honest with yourself on the amount you will ultimately be comfortable with.  It feels tempting to put a lower amount to make yourself appear more attractive, but at the end of the day, will you be happy with or able to survive on that income?

I would look into local job boards or resources that will give you a salary target based on your geographic area.  This will help you to gain confidence in what the market is paying. 
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