Do Your Salary Requirements Go on Your Resume or in Your Cover Letter?

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When you see a job listing that asks you to specify your salary requirements in your application, what is the best way to provide that information? Should you include it in your resume, your cover letter, or perhaps an email? Should you ask for more or less money than you really want? How do you know whether you’re asking for too much or too little?

If you dread seeing that request during your job search, especially for a position you greatly desire, never fear! We’ll tell you why the company is asking for that information, what you should say, and how you should present it. If you need help with your resume or a cover letter, get in touch with our experts.

Let’s get this out of the way immediately: The best place to state your salary requirements is your cover letter. Sending an additional email looks unprofessional, and you should save the limited space on your resume for wowing the employer with your qualifications. 

Now that you know where it goes, let's look at best practices.

Salary range

Rather than putting down a specific amount, provide a salary range. A hiring manager prefers to see that you're flexible and open to negotiation. Make sure you list a range whose lower end you’re okay with—obviously, the company will want to go as low as possible. 

With that said, you should state that you expect competitive and fair compensation and that you're worth the money. The employer may be willing to settle for a figure closer to the middle of your range to avoid giving the impression of using exploitative practices. Let them know that you've done your research on remuneration for the position and that you're not just coming up with a random range.

Calculating the appropriate compensation

So, how do you come up with the ideal salary range? Do some general research. Find out what similar jobs in your industry pay and tweak that information based on your experience, skills, and career level. Don't forget to factor in other elements that can affect your paycheck, such as the cost of commuting, if applicable. Finally, consider what you would be happy with—you don’t want to name a figure that would make you resent your employer for what they pay you. 

Aim high, but be reasonable

If you provide an employer with a higher salary range than what you'd be willing to accept, it increases your chances of negotiating with the company should you get the job offer. Sharing a lower salary range could hurt you at the negotiating table, leaving you with a lowball offer. 

However, when you ask for a higher salary range, don't go overboard—your move could backfire if the company’s budget can’t accommodate your request. They might think you won’t accept the position for less money. That’s why it’s essential to do research on average salaries for the job you’re after. This will give you a good idea of where you should place the upper limit.

Why companies ask about salary requirements

Essentially, employers want to know salary requirements to screen applicants. Your answer will help them determine whether they can afford to pay what you expect, whether you’re overqualified for the job, and how much you value yourself and your experience. 

A decent company will want to compensate a new hire competitively to encourage retention and maintain good morale, so don't let this request stress you out too much. Just do your research, be prepared, name a range you’d actually be willing to accept, and be open to negotiation. If you’re not sure how to include your salary requirements in your cover letter, reach out to our skilled professionals!

Improve Your Resume or CV