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How To Specify Salary Requirements In Cover Letter

Disclosing Salary Requirements/History

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Disclosing Salary Requirements and Salary History

Many job postings ask you to include your salary history or your salary requirements when applying for the position. First of all, if the ad doesn't mention it, don't offer any salary information. If at all possible, you want the prospective employer to bring up the issue of compensation first.

Employers request salary information for various reasons. If your salary is too high, they can screen you out because they don't want to pay that much or because they think you won't be happy working for less money. If your current salary is lower than the company was planning to pay, they may offer you a lower salary.

Including Salary History

If you are asked to include your salary history with your resume, you could ignore the request, but, that means you could risk not getting an interview.

There is nothing employers like less than candidates who don't follow directions. An alternative would be to include a salary range on past jobs rather than a specific amount. If you do include your salary history, be honest. It's easy for potential employers to verify your salary with previous employers. Do this as an attachment to the resume. A salary history can be listed on a separate page and enclosed with your resume and cover letter. Click here to view a example of a salary history.

OR

you can address them in your cover letter. Click here to view a cover letter that has the salary history listed. Employers request salary histories and/or requirements to help them determine if there is a fit monetarily.

If you're fairly certain that your salary history matches well with an organization's expectations and compensation structure, you can include this in your cover letter. If you are uncertain that your salary history or requirements are a close match, use language in your cover letter to the effect that, with regard to salary, you are sure the employer has a fair compensation program, and that your primary interest is in this company and opportunity.

Salary Requirements

When salary requirements are requested, you have a little more flexibility.

  • One option is to state that your salary requirements are negotiable based upon the position and the overall total compensation package, including benefits.
  • Another alternative is to include a range, based on the salary research you've done, i.e. my salary requirement is in the $30,000 - $40,000 range.

Either way, note that your salary requirements are flexible. That may help keep you in the running for the position and will give you some flexibility when negotiating compensation later on.

  • Salary requirements can be addressed in either the cover letter or on a separate attachment.

Salary requirements can be included in your cover letter with sentences such as "My salary requirement is negotiable based upon the job responsibilities and the total compensation package." or "My salary requirement is in the $25,000 - $35,000+ range."

*Do not include your salary history or salary requirements in your resume.

Stating a Salary Range

When stating a salary range, it's important to make make sure that the range is realistic. Do this by carefully researching what the position is worth. Use salary surveys to determine the average salary for the position you are interviewing for, or for a similar position if you can't find information on the exact job title you're looking for. When the position is in a different location, use salary calculators to factor in cost-of-living expenses and to estimate what you should be paid. There are a variety of salary surveys and cost of living calculators , including industry-specific and geographic resources, available online.

  • Additional salary information, click here.

When and How to Disclose Your Salary Requirements

Some job postings ask you to include your salary requirements, or even your salary history, when applying for the position. Companies request salary information for various reasons. If your salary requirement (or salary history) is too high, employers can screen you out because they don't want to pay that much, or because they think you won't be happy working for less money.

On the other hand, if your salary requirement (or your salary history) is lower than the company is willing to pay, they may offer you a lower salary.

To avoid being screened out, and to avoid being offered a low salary, you need to be careful how you describe your salary information.

Read below for tips on how to provide this information without hurting your chances of getting a job, while still receiving a fair salary.

What Are Salary Requirements?

A salary requirement is the amount of compensation a person needs to accept a position. Some employers ask job candidates to give a salary requirement when they apply for a job.

Salary requirements are based on several factors such as:

  • The industry

  • Prior salary history

  • Previous work experience

  • Cost of living

Occasionally, an employer might ask you to include your salary history instead of (or along with) your salary requirements. A salary history is a document that lists your past earnings. The document typically includes the name of each company you worked for, your job title, salary, and benefits package.

Is it Legal for an Employer to Ask for Your Salary Requirements?

Employers can legally ask you to state your salary requirements. However, some states and cities restrict employers from requesting information about your past salary. Check with the state department of labor in your jurisdiction for the latest information on this issue, and the laws that apply in your city and state.

Salary Requirements: Include or Leave Out?

If the job listing doesn't mention it, don't offer any salary information at all. Ideally, you want the prospective employer to bring up the topic of compensation first.

If you are asked to include salary requirements with your application, you could ignore the request, but that means you risk not getting an interview. There is nothing employers like less than when candidates do not follow directions.

It is best to follow instructions. However, there are a few ways you can provide the required information while limiting your risk of being screened out or offered a low salary.

Tips for Including Salary Requirements

When asked to include salary requirements, you can include a salary range rather than a specific amount. This range should be based on the salary research you've done. For example, you can state in your cover letter, “My salary requirement is in the $35,000 - $45,000 range.” This kind of answer gives you some flexibility, and prevents you from locking yourself into a low salary (or being screened out for having too high of a salary).

When stating a salary range, make sure that the range is realistic. Do this by carefully researching what the position is worth:

  • Use salary surveys to determine the average salary for the position you are interviewing for, or for a similar position if you can't find information on the exact job title.

  • Use salary calculators to factor in cost-of-living expenses and to estimate what you should be paid in a particular location. There are a variety of salary surveys and calculators, including industry-specific and geographic resources, available online.

Another option is to state that your salary requirements are negotiable based on the position and the overall compensation package, including benefits.

Either way, note that your salary requirements are flexible. That may help keep you in the running for the position and will give you some flexibility when negotiating compensation later on if you get a job offer.

Tips for Including Salary History

If you are asked to include your salary history, you can also list your previous salaries as ranges rather than specific amounts.

But again, always follow any specific instructions about how to include salary history.

If the employer gives specific instructions on how to include salary requirements, follow those rules. For example, if he or she says to give a specific dollar amount (rather than a range), do so.

Again, you want to follow all directions on the job listing. No matter how you include your salary history, always be honest. It's easy for potential employers to check your salary with previous employers. Any false information will get you screened out of the application process.

Where and How to Include Salary Information

Salary requirements can be included in your cover letter with sentences such as "My salary requirement is negotiable based upon the job responsibilities and the total compensation package," or "My salary requirement is in the $25,000 - $35,000+ range."

Keep your reference to salary requirements brief, so the employer can focus on the rest of your cover letter.

If the employer asks you to include your salary requirement in a different way (for example, in your resume), be sure to do so.

There are a few ways you can include your salary history. First, you can include the history in your cover letter, briefly stating what you earn now. For example, you might say, “I currently earn in the mid-forties.” You can also include an itemized list of your previous salaries (or salary ranges), either in your resume or on a separate salary history page that you enclose with your resume and cover letter.

More About Salary: Salary Negotiation Strategies | How to Answer Interview Questions About Your Salary Expectations | Providing Salary History

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