Sooo….. you did it.  Created a great, relevant resume.  Sent in a killer cover letter to the right person.  Aced the interviews.  Took care of your references.  But, did you handle the “how much do you need?” portion of the process?  You know: the awkward, who-blinks-first-loses moment. 

It’s a tough one. 

Here’s what I’d advise: Try and avoid giving a number.  The reasons are: A – if you give a number that’s too low, that’s likely what you’re going to get (or they might even wonder why you’re such a bargain, and have second thoughts about you); B – if it’s too high, all they’re going to see is that big salary on your forehead – even if in the end you might get that amount, stating it too early could queer the deal.

Here’s what I’d advise: tell them what you make.  Tell them that you’d like to stay whole – heck, that you’d love a bump – but that the opportunity the job presents is so compelling that you’d like to hear their offer, and that you’re confident when they make an offer that they’ll put their best foot forward.  This politely puts the ball back in their court, and compliments them on what a great organization they are.