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How to Include Salary Expectations in a Cover Letter

If you're in the process of applying for a job then you'll also be thinking about your salary expectations. You might also be expected to include this in your Covering Letter. Firstly unless you are specifically requested to do so, it would be best to avoid discussing salary expectations within you covering letter or noting salaries in your CV.

At application stage you don't have anything more than the job description and you don't want to be written off from the interview with a salary expectation too high or too low.


We recommend that you don't raise the subject of salary expectations until you receive the job offer and/or the interviewer starts talking about it, although it is always wise to have a minimum figure in mind so that you are not completely off guard if the question comes up.

Read on: Salary negotiation during your job interview

If you are offered the job over the phone, it is reasonable to ask about the salary ranges for this role if it hasn't already been discussed. If you are successful and offered the position, it is vital that even if you verbally accept the role, you follow up with a letter and include details of the salary that you expect to receive in writing.

Read on to find out how best to open the subject of Salary Expectations, and also considers ways include salary expectations in a Cover Letter when applying for a job, plus offers a sample letter to do just that!

How to include Salary Requirements in a Cover Letter

This is made particularly difficult when many job adverts do not provide the employer's range of salary limits.

First it's best to understand why the employer is asking for your salary expectations:

Employers want to have a good understanding of the candidates that they are interviewing, and the current salary and/or salary requirements for your new role so that make an assessment of the level of expertise each has, and if they can afford to employ them. However the figures that you put forward could mean that your CV is not selected into the next process so you need to get it right.

1. If your salaty expectation is too high, your CV may go straight into the 'no' pile to avoid wasting time as they are not prepared to pay you the figure.

2. If you are a serious contender for the role, even though your expectation is higher than their limit then the employer may believe you will not be satisfied with a lower salary and leave if another opportunity came up.

3. If your salary expectations are set too low, your CV may be dismissed for a lack of experience or just as bad, land the job on a salary that is too low to sustain!

So it is vital to guage the salary expectations and inform the employer in a way that doesn't mean you miss out on your dream job and allows you to keep the door open for negotiation.

Your options:

1. If you really have no idea what salary might be appropriate you could simply state that the salary package is negotiable based on the total compensation offered, including benefits.
2. You could suggest a range of salaries that might be acceptable (from-to) once you have carried out some research into the current market, for example £22,000 – £30,000, with the lower number representing your minimum salary expectation.

Either of the alternatives listed above will put you in a good starting position and most importantly leave open the opportunity for negotiations at a later stage.

What to do first?

Your first task before settling down to write your letter is to do some research into the average salaries for the role, making sure you consider these items below;

Related: Top 5 Tips For A Successful Cover Letter

Salary survey and salary range

Take some time to look at industry reviews and advertised salary ranges for similar roles with a similar status to that which you are applying.

The company

You should also carry out some research into the company you are applying to as the salary they are expecting to pay will depend on the size of business and field of work. Also if there is likely to be travel with the role the salary is likely to be higher to compensate for this.

Location of vacancy

The cost of living varies considerably from one end of the country to the other, and in or out of cities. The location of the post will therefore make a big difference to the salary you can expect as an employee in the centre of London can expect to receive a higher wage than the same role in Newcastle there is a big difference in the cost of living in these two areas.

Supply and Demand

Another very important, if not the most important, factor is the availability of suitable candidates for the role. If there are many good candidates for the role with the same skills and qualifications then employers can set the salary slightly lower.

If on the other hand there are very few employees with the required skills or experience, for example several years ago there was a lack of qualified electricians, and we understand there is currently a lack of trained engineers in the north east, then the employer will have to offer a premium in the salary to attract the right level of employee to fill the role.

What about benefits?

There are some professions, such as sales and marketing, which rely on benefits rather than the salary. If this is the type of role you are applying for then you need to be sure you understand the process of pay and what the basic salary will be along with the likely income and any other benefits and how it is calculated.

Cross-candidate comparison

If the employer has asked for you to include salary expectations in your cover letter, then they'll have more knowledge about the other candidate's expectations than your. In other words they'll have the upper hand in negotiations because they can directly compare skills, experience, qualification and pay expectations and make judgements base on these. So it is important to get it right!

Sample cover letter with salary requirements

Dear [use name]

Application for [job role]

With excellent communication and training skills I am a qualified candidate for the vacancy advertised and consider I would be a valuable asset for the role.

The vacancy advert specifically asks for salary expectations and based on my experience and research into the role and market conditions I consider a salary range of £25,000 – £35,000 as a basic salary without extra benefits or supplemental payments.

I would be expecting remuneration of this order although it would be negotiable depending on the total compensation, training opportunities and other factors.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


photo by: the spider

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