Q. I'm applying to a job, and in the ad, they ask for a salary history. I'd heard you aren't supposed to talk about salary so early in the process. Should I just leave that out or do I have to include it?

A. If you're working with AppleOne, then they should always be the ones talking about money with any prospective employer, so we're going to assume that this is a job you've found and are pursuing on your own. With that said, leaving it out would be a pretty big gamble. There are some hiring managers who would immediately eliminate you from consideration because you didn't completely follow the instructions they detailed in their ad. Many others wouldn't be such sticklers, but then you never know what type of person you're dealing with until you've had a chance to meet with them.

There are only a few reasons that you might think about leaving it out. First, if you were concerned that your salary history would be too high relative to the position you're seeking, then you might be concerned that the history may scare them off. Second, if you're concerned that your salary history might be too low relative to the position you're seeking, then you may weaken your position when it comes to negotiating salary.

If you're concerned that your former salaries might be too high, it's best to include that and explain why that won't be an issue in your cover letter or even in a little note at the top of your salary history. If you're concerned that your history may be too low, then you have to decide whether you feel like gambling or not.