Can I Combine Commission & Base Salary When Applying for a Job Requiring a Salary History?

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A potential employer can ask for your salary history as part of your job application when you submit your resume and cover letter. If this is the case, use the proper formatting procedures for presenting your past salaries, so the employer knows exactly how much you earned. You should only include the salary history if prompted by the employer.

Presenting Salary History

  • When an employer asks to see your salary history as part of your resume, cover letter and general job application, you must provide the base salary as its own figure. This means that you should not add any commissions or bonus payments in the base salary to give the employer the impression that you had a higher annual salary. Rather, make your case for a higher salary during the negotiation period following the interview.

Addition Information

  • It is important that you share both your base salary and any additional bonuses or commissions as part of your salary history, as long as you do not add them up to a lump sum. Keep your bonus payments, like compensation, health benefit payments, insurance benefits, commissions and 401(k) payments separately. Each of these should also be listed as separate entities.

How to Format

  • Use proper formatting when you present your past salary payments from previous employers. Format the document in the same manner as you have your resume and cover letter, using same fonts and headings. The salary history page is the third document in your job application and must be cohesive with the rest of the documents. List your starting salary first, followed by the ending salary to show your wage increases. List all of the bonus payments and commissions after the base salary, so the employer can identify what bonuses you have previously received.

Importance of Salary History

  • The potential employer will ask for your previous salary information for two reasons. The first is to know how much you have previously received to gain an upper-hand in your salary negotiations should you be in the position of getting a job offer. The second reason is simply to use it as a sorting tool in case the employer receives hundreds of applications.

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