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How to Include Salary Requirements in Cover Letter

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Listings for job opportunities may include not only information about the job being offered, but also directions on how to apply. You may be asked to apply only by filling out an online application, only by e-mail or only with a resume. At times, you may be asked to include salary requirements in your cover letter. If you state a salary requirement that the employer feels is too high, you might be disqualified even before you are interviewed; if you ask for a low salary, you risk being paid less than you are worth. However, there a number of ways to discuss salary requirements that can help mitigate the risks.

Provide a range. Rather than name a particular salary that might be either too high or too low, state a range that would be acceptable. A statement such as “I’m open to a salary in the $55,000 to $65,000 depending on the final details of the position,” using the appropriate figures for your case. This allows you to be flexible while still giving the employer a sense of your salary needs.

State your flexibility. By focusing on your willingness to work with the employer, you can keep the door open. A statement of this type might read: “The job posting for this position asks for salary requirements. Because positions of this sort can vary greatly in compensation, I’m prepared to be flexible regarding salary; I’m eager to learn more about the position.”

Set an expectation of fairness. The Quintessential Careers Web site notes that establishing a sense of trust early on can benefit both employer and employee. A statement such as “Regarding salary requirements, I’m confident that [company name] offers fair salaries to its employees and look forward to learning the details.”

Provide the figure. In some cases you may choose simply to state the salary you want. It is helpful to point out that you believe your request is reasonable. For example, you might write: "With regard to compensation, I'm seeking a salary of $55,000, which I believe is consistent with the salary range for someone with my skill set and experience."

Decline the request. If you feel that you are a strong candidate, you may choose to decline the request. A statement such as “I would be most comfortable discussing salary requirements in person rather than in a cover letter.”

About the Author

Sam N. Austin began writing professionally in 1990, and has held executive and creative positions at Microsoft, Dell and numerous advertising agencies. Austin writes on health and well-being as well as linguistics and international travel, business, management and emerging technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the University of Texas where he is a Master of Arts candidate in Romance linguistics.

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