If you are searching for a new job, you may have noticed that many companies are requesting that job applicants provide “salary requirements” in the cover letters that accompany their resumes. This makes many job applicants uncomfortable. On the one hand, if you provide a price point that is too high or outside the reasonable range for the position, your application may not be considered. On the other hand, if you price yourself too low, you may not be taken seriously as a candidate for the position, or if you are extended an offer, you may have to settle working for an amount that is considerably less than what the time and effort required to satisfy the position requirements are worth. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to satisfy this request without placing yourself at a disadvantage.
Research average salary ranges for the position in your area. You can start by searching job listing sites such as Careerbuilder, Monster and Craigslist. Many companies do list salary ranges to advertised positions. Therefore, even if the company hasn’t provided a salary range, you can find the information by viewing competitor’s listings for similar positions. Also check the U.S. Department of Labor’s website for average salaries in a variety of fields and industries.
Consider your personal salary history. This is a question that may come up at an interview or may be requested during salary negotiations. If you have never made more than £19,500 a year and you are applying for a position with a salary range of £32,500 to £39,000, you may want to provide a salary requirement on the lower end of the range. Conversely, if you are applying for the same position and you were making £42,250 at your previous job, you want to provide a salary request at the high end of the range. However, even if your past salaries are lower than the range for the position that you are applying for, take into account any new degrees, certifications, special projects or course work that you have acquired. Each of these items will add value to your resume and should be reflected in your salary request.
Write your salary requirements information in the second or third paragraph of your cover letter, rather than the first. The beginning of your cover letter should focus on the reasons why you would be a great candidate for the position. After you’ve made your pitch, you can provide your salary requirements knowing that you’ve given solid reasoning in the previous paragraph or two as to why you are asking for the salary that you’ve decided upon. It is best to provide a salary range rather than one number. Never list an amount that you could not live with, even at the low end of your range. State that “the amounts listed are negotiable” and “may be altered depending upon the specific duties and benefits that accompany the position.” Letting an employer know that you are willing to negotiate will ensure that you are not discounted for requesting a salary that is too high or unreasonable. It will also protect you from being locked into a salary that is lower than you deserve.