BLUF: My previous role paid significantly under the current market rate for my skills, level, and industry. How do I explain and answer the salary expectation question without seeming unrealistic because of the large bump in salary? Obviously, this question is only an issue when asked about my previous salary.
NOTE: I have the interview series product and follow it when interviewing.
Background: About two years ago I took a junior role at a pay rate that was at the bottom end of the pay scale for the role and industry. This made sense at the time as I was transitioning to a new industry (music to marketing) without a formal education in the field and I liked the clients and the potential for growth at the company.
With that, I grew quickly in the organization, being promoted four months into the position to a manager role and a year after that I moved into another manager role with more responsibility and leadership. At the end, I managed project teams of 4 to 6 people and had one permanent direct report. These promotions and role changes did come with salary increases but didn't come to match industry norms for the title and responsibilities.
I know that I am worth the market value now and so I'm pitching with that in mind. My concern is more or less the sticker shock as the difference in pay from my most recent role to industry norm is about $20,000. I do believe I left a bit of money on the table at the previous company but felt that it was for a good reason at the time, secure the job and gain industry experience. Now, I want to make sure that my pay is better aligned with industry norms but feel the previous salary is hanging over my head.