Recent research found that 58% of people have taken a pay cut for more satisfying work. Interestingly, that included 72% of the men and only 56% of the women surveyed. It’s likely the gender pay gap plays a role in those numbers.
Even though many people have taken pay cuts to pursue happiness, employers often balk at hiring people for less money than they have been making because they fear they will leave when they find a better job.
What If You’re Willing to Take a Pay Cut?
But what if you’re willing to make less? Then address the concern head-on and right away in your cover letter.
Cover Letter Language
One of my clients is making a change to more rewarding work. The change will entail a big cut in pay.
I love the words she used to describe this in a recent cover letter to a hiring manager.
Shared with her OK, here is the paragraph she used to address possible concerns about her pay:
I know that a move to [type of job] will mean a significant cut in pay for me, but I am now in a position where I don’t need to make as much money as a [current title] at [current company] makes. Rather, I’m looking to make the most of everything I’ve learned over the past 15 years by bringing it all together and applying it as a [title] in the [name] field.
Simple, direct, and honest. My client shares that she can afford a pay cut and her motivation for doing so.
As a former recruiter, I find her explanation more than adequate. Because of this, I wouldn’t consider her flexibility about pay a negative in recruiting her — as long as the new job fits the career change she wants to make.
Whether you’re making a voluntary or involuntary job change, if it involves a pay cut, let recruiters and hiring managers know you’re OK with that and why.
Is It Worth It to Take a Pay Cut?
One more thing, if you’re asking yourself if it’s worth it to make less money, the study asked too.
Those who reported taking a pay cut to improve their happiness, both men and women, were 63% more likely to say they are “mostly happy” or “elated” with their current jobs than those who have not.
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Updated February 2021
© 2013 – 2021, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, and Business News Daily.
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