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How to Reply to an Email for Salary Requirements

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For job seekers, receiving a salary requirements email can present quite a challenge. You don’t want to specify a salary that’s too low and thereby deprive yourself of a higher rate of compensation for your hard work. At the same time, you don’t want to state a salary that’s too high and knock your application out of the running for an otherwise ideal position. Whether you’re asked for pay expectations on an application form or through an email, there are tools and methods available to help you determine the right salary range for a potential job. A carefully crafted response can help you seal the deal with a potential employer.

Research Average Salaries for Your Industry

When you’re asked by a potential employer for your salary expectations, it’s tempting to shoot back a quick reply along the lines of “whatever you think is fair.” This is a mistake. Instead, start by researching similar positions to find out an average range of salaries for workers in your field.

Start by visiting websites such as PayScale and Salary for more general information, based on variables such as experience, college information and more. Some of these websites allow you to refine positions by geographic area so that you can confirm salaries in locations near you. This can be useful, as there can often be wide gaps in pay between various regions and between the city and rural locations. Additionally, you can research salary information for specific companies using a site like Glassdoor. Company-specific information is vital to verify what your potential employer has historically paid for your position and others like it.

Finally, you can find reliable wage and employment data relevant to your job search at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. The BLS is a U.S. federal agency that maintains a comprehensive collection of data on positions, careers, employers and salary data. The agency’s website also offers Occupational Employment Statistics, a searchable companion database of this data. You can search for specific types of jobs or look for jobs that enjoy the highest compensation rates.

Determine Your Salary Expectations

After you’ve researched average industry salaries for your area and, if possible, for the company, you’ll need to determine your minimum compensation requirement based on the results of that research. Additionally, you’ll want to factor in your specific experience and any other expected benefits that may warrant accepting a lower figure.

Focus on determining a range of figures rather than a specific salary at this stage. By specifying a range, you’re more likely to include the salary your potential employer also finds acceptable. The lower end of your range should still be a salary you could live with (and on), and the higher end should remain within the reasonable salary range for the position, based on your research.

Craft Your Response Email

Finally, write your reply in an email to the person who requested your salary requirements. Keep the email short and succinct, but include an expression of gratitude for being considered for the position. You may also want to briefly express your interest in the position and your belief that you’d be a good fit for the company’s needs. You can tie this belief to your overall experience and qualifications, but keep this to a sentence or two at most.

Express your salary range and include the disclosure that the range was based on research. For example, you could write, _“_You asked for my salary requirements. Based on my industry research, my acceptable salary range would be $50,000 to $55,000 per year, excluding benefits.”

Make sure you state your willingness to negotiate your salary and close the email by thanking the individual for the opportunity.

Salary Negotiation Tips

When it comes time to negotiate a specific salary, be prepared to support your figures with data. If your stated salary range is met with resistance, you can then offer the evidence that this is within the normal range of salaries for this type of position.

Start at the top of the range, commensurate with your experience level. However, for the best results at this stage, pick a specific number. For example, your starting figure for negotiation should be $55,450 instead of $55,000.

Finally, don’t let nerves get the best of you. Negotiating for what you’re worth is a daunting prospect for most people. Preparation and rehearsal can help soothe the natural anxiety you may feel and help you deliver a more polished presentation explaining why you’re a strong bet for any employer.


Annie Sisk is a freelance writer who lives in upstate New York and is originally from North Carolina. She has written for multiple online websites and media outlets, including recapping hit TV show "This Is Us" for the Baltimore Sun website.

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