When you are requested by a potential employer to include your salary requirements in your cover letter, be prepared by knowing your worth. Using your knowledge around what salary is commensurate with your skills and experience will give you an edge in writing your cover letter.
However, you may occasionally find during your job search that a potential employer will require you to include your salary requirements in the initial cover letter. Typically, this request is designed to ensure that the employer is only considering candidates whose salary requirements fall within the range they have budgeted for the role.
In this instance, there is no way around it: you must include a salary range in your cover letter. But how do you make a cover letter that mentions your salary needs without eliminating yourself from the position right out of the gate? Read our example cover letter with salary requirements below, to get some ideas on how you can write your own.
And for more about negotiating your salary, check out our article Salary Negotiation Mistakes to Avoid, which explains how to negotiate the best salary possible.
Example Cover Letter with Salary Requirements:
Dear Ms. Kindig,
My varied customer service and training experience, along with my extensive educational background, make me an ideal candidate for the corporate trainer position posted in the Careers section of your website. Much of my previous work experience has been in customer service, and the tools and techniques I have learned from this industry transfer directly to the skills outlines in your job post, including effective written and verbal communication, facilitating group discussions, problem solving, developing rapport, organizing, meeting goals, and managing groups.
My extensive educational background, bachelor’s degree in marketing, and postgraduate work in teaching and counseling will help me add new perspectives and ideas to your department. I know I can be a key player on your training team, and I would like the chance to prove that to you.
Per your request, an acceptable salary range for this job, based on the description and my research, is 50-55K, not including benefits or supplements. My requirement is flexible and negotiable, depending on such factors as additional benefits, the opportunity to earn bonuses, and opportunities for advancement. Thank you for your time and consideration.
For more information related to salary and salary negotiation, check out our article Salary Negotiation and Job Offer Tools and Resources for Jobseekers.
Other Free Sample Letters for Job Seekers Include:
Free Jobseeker Sample Job Search Letters
Free Jobseeker Sample Thank You Letters
Free Jobseeker Sample Letter: Accepting a Job Offer
Free Jobseeker Sample Letter: Declining a Job Offer
More Helpful Cover Letter Resources:
Cover Letter Examples
Cover Letter Builder
How to Write a Cover Letter
Cover Letter Samples
Some job posts say "include salary history" or "state salary expectations" when you submit your resume and cover letter. Should you do it? Should you even mention the word "salary" in your cover letter?
There's no right or wrong answer to that question. Here are my thoughts on the subject. After reading this article, do what your gut tells you is right for your job search.
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Talking Salary in Your Cover Letter... or Maybe Not
Although some job posts ask for a resume and salary information, the two do not go together. Ideally, discussion about salary belongs in the interview, not on the resume. It is greatly to your advantage not to make a monetary request before an interview. Indicating salary requirements before the interview may increase your chances of being screened out and decrease your bargaining power during salary negotiations. This is also true if you respond to a salary request from an employer. You could guess too high and price yourself right out of the job, or guess too low and settle for less money than you deserve.
Take a Risk
You know what I would do if faced with the kind of demand for salary information mentioned above? I'd flat-out disregard the request. That's right, I'd take the risk that even though I didn't respond to the ad's requirement, I'd still get in the door for an interview. I say "risk" because there is a risk in not complying, since you could be disqualified for being "insubordinate." But there is also a risk if you do comply, since you could easily be screened out for asking for too much money. Either way you would not get the job, but maybe that means it wasn’t the right one for you. Of course, you need to decide which suits your style of risk-taking.
How to Handle a Salary Request in a Cover Letter
If you feel obligated to address salary history in order to fulfill the employer's initial application requirements, do so in your cover letter (not on your resume!). Speak in generalities, such as:
- My salary in previous positions ranged from $X to more than $Y, accompanied by benefits.
- My growth in earnings from $4.25 an hour as a grocery clerk back in 1986 to my current salary as a division manager is something I'm extremely proud of.
- Since salary history is a confidential matter, please understand that I prefer to speak about it in person.
- I would like to discuss my salary history during our interview.
- My salary requirements are negotiable.
Here's a cover letter that side-steps the salary history question. Notice how the job seeker cleverly speaks of his salary history without revealing any figures.
Cover Letter Sample That Refers to Salary History
Know Your Salary Stuff
Talking directly about salary expectations in a letter is tricky. If you are pressed to name a salary, I suggest that you first find out what the position typically pays. (Learn about pay scales by checking with a career counselor, an employment agency, ads for similar job offers in the newspaper, and online resources.) Then mention your salary expectations in your cover letter using language that gives you room for negotiations, such as "I am looking for a position in the $X to $Y salary range."
Be a Savvy Negotiator
Salary negotiating is a skill in and of itself. Your cover letter and resume will get you the interview, your interview should get you to the bargaining table, and your negotiations should win you your desired compensation. For help tuning up your negotiating skills, refer to my book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Interview, and practice interviewing with a friend or counselor.
When the hammer-it-out salary negotiations start, remember this terrific bargaining technique called cherry picking: Present a number of items you want as part of the deal, knowing that you probably won't get everything on your wish list. The employer, feeling pretty smart about his bargaining skills, will likely pick a few "cherries" from your list and reject the rest. You both come out of the bargaining room smiling, feeling that a real compromise was made.
Here's a cover letter sample that deals with the salary expectation issue without spilling the beans about how much she hopes to make.
Cover Letter Sample That Refers to Salary Expectations