How to Address Salary Requirements in a Cover Letter

John Scott
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When you write a cover letter, it is essential to provide a would-be employer with a snapshot of your educational history and professional career. In some instances, you also need to include salary requirements with your cover letter. While it is easy to feel intimidated by this application request, addressing salary requirements directly and confidently allows you to demonstrate your professionalism and obtain the salary you deserve.

If a job posting asks you to include cover letter salary requirements, you need to think clearly about your salary history and your expectations for this position. If you are not already familiar with current salaries in the industry in question, spend some time researching salary information. This data helps you present a clear, appropriate salary expectation to your future employer. In some cases, networking contacts within your industry prove invaluable when pinpointing a range of appropriate salaries.

There are several different ways to address salary requirements within your cover letter. In highly specific scenarios, naming an exact figure meets the employer's request, but instead, consider offering a range of salaries that covers your expectations. This provides you with a comfortable margin for negotiation purposes. You should note that while most employers request salary requirements within the cover letter itself, some ask for a separate letter of salary. In both situations, you need to maintain a firm tone, while simultaneously highlighting your professional demeanor.

In addition to providing a range of salary requirements, you also want to indicate your flexibility to the employer. Consider adding a small line to your letter that explains that your salary expectations are negotiable. While you need to communicate your adaptability, you want to refrain from showing too much flexibility. If you fail to clearly outline your salary needs within the cover letter, you lose your ability to negotiate for a higher salary after your initial interview.

Additionally, recruiters occasionally request salary history within a letter of salary. Rather than placing all your cards on the table, it is advisable to again provide a range of figures. If you are a recent graduate, salary history is not necessarily available. In this instance, consider leaving this information off the cover lever altogether, or instead referencing that you are happy to discuss your salary requirements and past history at the time of the interview. Most recruiters are receptive to such responses.

Before you send your cover letter with salary expectations, remember that salary history is easily verifiable. To avoid a potentially awkward situation, provide honest information that reflects your working experience and your current salary requirements. While providing salary information to an unknown recruiter feels uncomfortable, if you embrace this challenge and use it to demonstrate your expertise, your letter is bound to make a veritable impression on the recruiter.


(Photo courtesy of nongpimmy /


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