compensation history for new job

I am filling out a form for this prospective employer and one of the questions(optional) is about compensation. Do you guys think it is necessary to fill compensation history, though it is not marked mandatory?

There are two reasons why they want to look: 1) If you have made more in the past then they are willing to offer, you will generally not be considered for the position. 2) If you have made significantly less in the past than what the new position offers, they will lowball you with an offer. On paper, I typically put “Compensation is negotiable” or something to that effect.

of course, I have been out of a job for 4 months now.

+1 on writing that compensation is negotiable If it is optional, just write “negotiable”. The less info they have about your past comp, the better position you are in. Do some research to see if you can find the approximate range for the job so that when it comes time to negotiate or if they flat out ask you what you are expecting, you are in the ballpark and not asking for something so ridiculously high that they won’t seriously consider you. Even if it is lower than what you want to make, just pretend that the range is acceptable. The way I look at it, if they like you and want to hire you, then you can try to negotiate a little higher. If they are far below what you are making now, then you probably wouldn’t want to take it anyway.