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How to Include Salary Requirements in a Cover Letter


According to research by Adzuna, more than 50% of employers don’t disclose salaries in job advertisements because they find this practice obsolete. Some of them worry that this information will fall into the hands of competitors who will form better offers to undermine the competition. In contrast, others want to leave room for negotiation and determine the wage level that corresponds to the job seeker’s experience and skills. In any case, candidates are being given increasing flexibility to define the desired price for their services. In this guide, we will discuss how to put salary requirements in a cover letter correctly so as not to confuse the potential employer and, at the same time, not to sell your qualifications short.

Salary requirements in a cover letter: what to avoid

Disclosing financial expectations when applying for a position is a challenge. Any negligence can deprive you of either an interview invitation or decent compensation for your work. To avoid both outcomes, keep in mind the common mistakes of candidates when indicating the desired salary.

Common Mistakes

Do not bring up financial matters on your own. Remember, the original purpose of the cover letter is your self-presentation. The more successful it is, the more chance you have to name a reasonable price for your services in an interview. Therefore, if the job advertisement does not request salary clarifications, leave this conversation for the next selection stage.

Do not neglect the requirements of the company. If the employer expects you to discuss your desired income, you should not avoid the subject. It may discredit your candidacy, since violating the instructions of the employer at the initial stage is not a good look. If they cannot follow instructions now, what are the chances that they will follow them in the future?

Do not give one exact figure. If your answer is limited to one figure, it resembles an ultimatum and does not leave room for negotiation. This is not good etiquette in the business environment. In a perfect world, the employer will accept your terms or revert to the matter in person. But if you leave no room for negotiation, they may view your offer as final and move on to more flexible candidates.

Do not be too shy. There are many examples where candidates lower the real value of their qualifications and knowledge when including salary expectations in a cover letter. Often they are just afraid to look arrogant or to frighten off the employer. But this is a losing tactic. The employer may try to drive down the price even more, so you run the risk of getting a position where your earnings do not cover even half of your responsibilities. Therefore, never try to attract an employer by undercutting your true worth.

How to add salary requirements to your cover letter: best tips

If you can’t change something, make it work for you. The following tips will help you disclose your financial expectations and encourage the company for future consideration of your candidacy.

Winning Steps

Offer a salary range. The salary range is a good alternative to one exact figure. First, it provides options and leaves the final word with the employer, which is a respectful method of communication. Second, when you designate the salary range, you also get the upper hand, because now the employer knows exactly the minimum acceptable price for your services. Third, if the employer has options, he will choose the most suitable one from the proposed range rather than trying to bargain.

Research the salary level in your industry. When determining your salary range, do not pull the numbers out of thin air. Instead, resort to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale, or other sources that will give you real-world wages for your industry, position, and skill level. It will help you adapt your expectations to the labor market practices.

Apply common sense. Your success directly depends on your ability to take an unbiased look at yourself. For this purpose, study the vacancy carefully, write down the main requirements for candidates, and honestly evaluate your compliance. It is one thing when you cover all expectations, but quite another if you are aware of your weaknesses and areas for improvement. This is not a reason to give up. It is just a way to revise your salary requirements and quote a fair price. Rest assured, your honesty will open more financial prospects for you than unjustified ambitions.

Mention that your salary expectations are flexible. If you want to play it safe, lay the groundwork for negotiations yourself. Make it clear that your expected salary may vary depending on the tasks, working conditions, business hours, your level of responsibility, additional benefits, or your career prospects in the company. This approach shows that the financial side is not your main priority, and it throws out a feeler for a future interview. Once there, you have the opportunity to evaluate the intricacies of the company and your role. This information will help you formulate real salary requirements.

Indicate the desired income after the self-presentation. Have you ever noticed that experienced sellers describe the benefits of the product before naming the price? There is a reason for that. The buyer visualizes the advantages of the product and imagines how it can benefit and simplify their life. After such a picture, the price seems quite reasonable.

This rule applies to the cover letter. Start with your expert skills, qualifications, and personal qualities that make you the very employee the company is looking for. Make an effort to picture all the benefits of your future cooperation and then move on to the financial matter. By that time, the employer will clearly understand what they are paying for. To increase your chances, feel free to use a professional service. The can come in handy if you want your application document to speak volumes.

Sample cover letter with salary requirements

Your cover letter should have a one-page format. Throughout this page, you must prove your strengths, show your value to the company, and mention your salary requirements. The following sample will show how to cope with all these tasks and make your application document hit the target.

Helen Rith

Social Media Manager

88 Main Street

(654) 888-9999

[email protected]

Rayan Nilson

Recruiter “M&K”

Dear Mr. Nilson,

Today, social networks are not only entertainment platforms but also powerful promotion tools for any business. As a qualified social media manager, I want to ensure an online presence for “M&K” and increase its competitiveness in the market.

I have experience both in developing promotion strategies and in managing advertising activities. My main achievement is a successful brand awareness campaign dedicated to the product launch, which allowed me to exceed the expected profits by 42%. Thanks to this jump, the start-up company was able to compete for the target audience even against established market players.

Marketing awareness helps me study the customers and competitors of the company to develop a unique selling proposition and promotion strategy. My business acumen allows me to catch the target audience’s needs and interests to build a message and content for social networks. Thanks to my writing skills, I can create entertaining, informative, selling content for social networks, adhere to the tone of voice, and ensure high audience engagement.

Given my experience and level of expertise, I am counting on a salary of $55,000-$60,000. This amount may be negotiated as I appreciate the opportunity to join “M&K” from its early inception and contribute to its prosperity.

Hope for fruitful cooperation.



Wrap Up

Disclosing financial expectations can be a challenge even for qualified specialists who know what they can offer in exchange for this figure. Nevertheless, this is an essential condition to understand if you are on the same page as the employer and whether you can find common ground in the future. Remember, your knowledge and skills cost much more than numbers on a piece of paper. Therefore, arm yourself with our guide, have a strong sense of self-worth, and do not be afraid to indicate your salary requirements.

Authored by Olga Butyrina (Career Expert, GCL)

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