Often times a job application will ask you to state your salary history or salary requirements. You could state “negotiable” or “open.” However, if you choose to include a figure, don’t equate your salary requirement with your military base pay alone.
If you’ve received base housing or a housing allowance, you know this benefit can be considerable. It translates into a specific dollar figure which should be added to your base salary. For example, if your base pay is $60,000 a year, you should include another 20% in benefits to arrive at a total compensation figure that would be equivalent to a civilian salary of $72,000.
If you only use your base pay as your current salary figure, you may undervalue yourself to civilian employers. To determine your equivalent civilian compensation, you can use the Military Compensation Calculator found at http://militarypay.defense.gov/pay/calc/index.html.
When computing your salary range, make the lower end of the range your minimum salary requirement. Then add 15-20% to that figure as the upper range. For example, if your base pay is $50,000, add another $10,000 for benefits to arrive at a total minimum compensation figure of $60,000. Your salary requirements range could then be $60,000 to $72,000.
Use your own judgment in addressing the salary question. There is no hard and fast rule on stating a figure or range. A figure helps the employer screen out individuals with too high a salary expectation. However, most people prefer to keep salary considerations to the end of the interview – after you have demonstrated your value and have more information about the position.