A guide on how to include salary requirements in cover letter

Certain recruiters require the applicants to mention their salary requirements in the cover letter. Whether it is the employer who asked you to state your salary requirement in a cover letter or whether it is you who want the employer to be aware of your minimum salary requirements before the interview, this article aims to address your concerns about how to disclose your salary requirements in a cover letter.

Some employers are particularly interested in knowing how much money you can work for, especially for job roles that require a specialized skill-set. You might have come across many job posts that provide the job responsibilities and request the applicants to include their salary expectations in the covering letter. For example,

“Candidates who wish to apply for this position should send their resume along with a covering letter indicating the details of their salary expectations.”

How to apply

Please submit your resume and cover letter to [email protected], clearly indicating your motivation for this role and working for Digital Solutions INC, the expertise and skills that would enable you to add value to the company, and how your professional experience meets the person specification. Please also include your salary requirements in the cover letter.

The deadline to apply for this position is 20th September 2020. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Please apply as soon as possible.

Many applicants are uncomfortable with talking about money matters in the cover letter. They may be reluctant to disclose their salary expectations to the employer because they could be worried that indicating a very high salary requirement could limit their chances of landing the job.

Employers have genuine reasons to ask for salary expectations from the candidates. Therefore it is recommended that you clearly disclose your salary needs in the cover letter to avoid getting your application rejected.

Do I really need to disclose my salary expectations so early in the recruitment process?

You should never be disclosing your salary expectations unless specifically requested by the employer. Most employers do not require the candidates to share their desired wages so early in the process. If you do that, you risk having your application rejected and ignored before even reaching the interview stage.

On the flip side, if the job advertisement specifically asks you to indicate your salary expectation in the cover letter, you should do that without hesitation. Because if you don’t follow the instructions, you send the wrong message to the recruiter.

Why do employers even ask for my salary requirements?

This is a good question and must be addressed so you can be comfortable with indicating your salary expectations in the cover letter. Employers ask for your salary expectations because they want to get a better idea of how much money you would like to earn and how that relates to the job responsibilities.

This is also a perfect strategy for employers to avoid wasting their time and monetary resources on candidates they cannot afford because they cannot pay them according to their high salary requirements.

Another reason employers could be interested in your salary expectations is to figure out whether you are under-or-over qualified for the available position. The indication of the salary requirements in a cover letter essentially helps the employers to measure your self-worth.

If an applicant’s salary expectations are too high, then the employer will assume that you are overqualified for the position, and you may not stick with the organization for long enough.

On the other hand, if your expectations are too low, the recruiter might think that you don’t value yourself because you lack the expertise and skill-set required to succeed in the role.

However, in some cases, stating a low salary expectation can work in your favor, particularly when the company you are applied to is small and interested in saving money and hiring only those who are capable but also affordable.

Is it, therefore, vitally important that you provide an expectation that is reasonable and appropriate. Your salary expectation is an important matter and one that shouldn’t be disclosed in haste. It is recommended that you take your time when deciding on this matter. If you get it wrong, you will either be underpaid or risk losing the opportunity altogether.

How to write your salary expectations in the covering letter

Avoid giving a single figure

One of the fatal mistakes many applicants make when providing their salary expectations is giving a single figure when asked about their desired earnings goal. You will be leaving yourself with no room for negotiation if you provide a single-figure salary expectation. Similarly, avoid giving your lowest salary expectation because the chances are that the employer will try to bring down your lowest expectation even further during the interview.

Know your self-worth

How important is it for you to know your self-worth before stating your salary expectation? How does this acute awareness of your worthiness help during pay negotiations? What’s more important to remember is that you do not have to look greedy and self-serving in the employer’s eyes. This means your negotiation should exude confidence and enthusiasm without giving an impression to the employer that you want the job bad enough to be willing to settle for anything less. Monetary satisfaction is equally important for you to sustain and thrive in the long run.

Read Also: 15 low stress jobs that pay well in 2021 

Identify the most appropriate salary range.

Consider determining a range of how much money would be sufficient for you before disclosing your expectations. Refrain from giving a single figure and putting yourself in a tricky situation where you can’t negotiate for a higher salary. A well-defined range will help you negotiate better.

However, it is equally important not to let desperation and greed determine a salary range that is inappropriate and unrealistic, considering your expertise and the nature of the job role.

You may follow the following two steps to develop a reasonable desired wage range in your cover letter.

  1. Perform desk-based internet research to figure out the regional average salary for the job you are applying for.
  2. Depending on the results of your research, establish your salary range with a +/- 10% margin. For example, if the average salary for a customer service representative at a certain location is $35,000, then you could establish your range as $33,000-$38,000.

How to disclose salary requirements in the cover letter – Examples

Here are some other wordings and formats you could use to express your desired earnings goal in a cover letter;

  • I would be expecting a salary between $30,000 to $40,000, but it is negotiable depending on the additional incentives included in the package.
  • My expected wages range, considering my extensive experience and expertise in the field of process engineering, is $45k-$55k.
  • Between $25,000 to $35,000, plus sales-based commission and bonuses in line with your company’s policy.
  • I expect a salary in the $40k-$50k range, and I am open to negotiation.

Try not to over-emphasize your salary expectation rather stick to a simple one to two lines statement. You will able to discuss your requirements in the next stage – if you are in it.

Do I need to reveal my wages history?

The employer may also be interested in knowing your salary history to determine whether you are suitable for the position. Typically, this information is used by prospective employers to determine the most suitable wage for you. While not many employers ask for this particular piece of information, you should be prepared to respond to the employer’s request if needed.

Be honest when disclosing your wages history, so the new employer has a chance to offer you an appropriate salary that commiserates your qualification and professional experience. You will have another chance to fight your case during the interview process if you feel what the employer is offering to pay is well below your expectations.