Cover Letter & Salary Requirements For Job Applications

A salary request in a cover letter must be handled carefully.

Cover letters and resumes play a large role in determining whether an employer will contact you for an interview, so it’s vital to craft each of them. The subject of salary requirements can be troublesome, because some employers request that you include salary information in your cover letter when you apply for a job.

Situation

Salary requirements and salary history are not traditionally part of a cover letter for a job application. If the employer has not mentioned salary, it is best not to mention previous or requested salary in your cover letter. If the employer does ask, it could be for various reasons. For example, he might want a screening device so he can eliminate those whose salary requirements are too low or high. In other situations, he might be looking for the applicant he can pay the least, in which case you are best off not applying for the job, because the employer is not concerned about the quality of worker he hires.

Considerations

When stating your salary requirement, there are several factors to take into consideration. Review industry reports of salaries for others in positions and careers similar to your own. Also consider your location, because the cost of living and the demand for your expertise in the area will affect your salary. Learn more about other compensation the company offers, such as insurance, shares and bonuses, and take those things into account as part of the overall package of what you feel the job is worth.

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Ranges

Rather than stating one figure, provide the employer with a salary range. Make the salary range fairly wide, and keep it within the ranges you learned about in your research for salaries earned by others with similar jobs. Some overlap is fine, but if the bottom of your range matches the higher end of salaries the employer offers to workers with your level of experience, your application likely will not be considered. Explain that you are flexible and willing to discuss this range with the employer.

Format

Salary requirements should go in the final paragraph of the cover letter. Explain that you expect fair compensation, then state your range and express your flexibility. Another option is to state a general salary in lieu of a range, such as “the mid $50s.” Thank the employer for his time and state that you would appreciate being able to discuss these requirements further in an interview. Do not state that your salary request is nonnegotiable.