How to Handle Putting Salary Requirements in Your Cover Letter
You may have received advice time and time again to hold off on any discussion of salary during the early stages of the job application and interview process, but what do you do when the job posting clearly indicates that you must include such information? You do not want to ignore the request since some employers will not even consider your application without the requested information. You also do not want to come below or largely over the top of what the employer has budgeted. So, how do you respond?
It can become a sticky situation when you present your desired salary before a first meeting with the employer, which will help you learn more about the responsibilities of the job. If you present a number below what the employer has budgeted, you lose any chance of securing a higher salary that the employer may (or would) have considered. And if you present a number that is too high, the employer may decide to dismiss your application and resume even before you have had the chance to make your case in an interview about how qualified you are for the job.
The most appropriate and effective way to respond to a job posting that requests for your desired salary is to offer a range. Also indicate in your message that you are interested in learning about the job, so not to appear as though it is all about the money. For instance, you may indicate towards the end of your cover letter message: “I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the position, as the assignment and the challenges it has to offer are most important to me. I am considering positions in the range of XX to YY range.”
Now, your next question may be: “What salary range do I present?”
To secure a competitive salary, find out what the industry standard is. That will help you set your own expectations and plan for what the employer may have budgeted for. This is much easier to do for those who are moving within the same profession between different employers. For individuals just entering the field or who are changing careers, conduct your research carefully as it can make a difference of several thousand dollars in your pocket.
There are numerous resources available online to help with salary research, some providing insider information to help you negotiate when presented with a job offer. Refer to the blog post: “Find Out How Much You Are Worth to Employers” to find a detailed list of websites that offer salary information for different professions, by employers and by location. Also plan ahead to speak with contacts you may have in the field and refer to professional organizations and its publications. A number of professional organizations conduct annual surveys related to salaries for specific professions.
Your job application and resume will not be dismissed for salary reasons along if the range you ask for is within fair market trends. Take time to conduct your research in advance and you will be properly prepared for salary negotiation when you advance to the next step of this critical search.