Writing a cover letter is challenging enough, but some employers throw in an extra complication: a request for salary requirements.
Why do companies ask applicants to name their price before calling them in for a job interview? It’s a way for employers to ensure that they don’t waste time interviewing candidates who whose expectations don't fit with the salary range they have established for the position.
If you’re uncomfortable discussing money, don’t worry. There are ways to include this information in your cover letter without jeopardizing your chances of getting a job.
Here are tips on when and how to include a salary requirement in a cover letter, as well as an example of a cover letter that lists a salary requirement. Also see below for more cover letter samples, and tips for emailing a cover letter and resume to apply for a job.
When to Include Salary Requirements in a Cover Letter
If a job application does not require you to include salary information (such as your salary history, a salary requirement, or a salary range), do not do so. If you request too high a salary, the employer may not even look at your application. On the other hand, if you request too low a salary, they may offer you less than you are worth.
However, if the job posting or application states that you must include a salary requirement, be sure to do so—as long as you are not living in a place where employers are prohibited from requesting this information.
It's important to follow directions and provide all the information the employer requests. Otherwise, you risk being tossed out of the application pool.
Options for Including Salary Requirements in a Cover Letter
If the employer is legally permitted to ask and does not give specific instructions on how to include salary requirements, you have a few options to consider.
Include a Salary Range
One way to include salary requirements in a cover letter is to list a salary range. This gives you and the employer some flexibility. Make sure your salary range is realistic. Research what the position is worth by using salary surveys and salary calculators.
Say Salary Requirements Are Negotiable
You can also state that your salary requirements are negotiable based on the position and the overall compensation package, including benefits. That gives you (and the employer) flexibility during the screening process and will leave room to negotiate a reasonable salary if you get an offer that's less than you expected.
State That You're Flexible
No matter what, make sure you emphasize that your salary requirements are flexible. This will help keep you in the running and also give you options when negotiating salary later on.
Cover Letter Example With Salary Requirements
You can use this sample as a model to write a cover letter with salary requirements. Download the template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or read the text version below.
Cover Letter Example With Salary Requirements (Text Version)
123 Main Street, Anytown, CA 12345
September 1, 2021
Chief Web Officer
ACME Web Doctor
123 Business Road
Business City, NY 54321
Dear Mr. Lee:
I'm writing to express my strong interest in the Web Design Specialist position listed on Indeed.
I have experience designing consumer-focused health-based websites. While much of my experience has been in the business world, I understand the social value of the non-profit sector.
My responsibilities have included the design and development of the site's editorial voice and style, and the daily content programming and production of the website. I worked closely with health care professionals and medical editors to help them provide the best possible information to a consumer audience of patients and health care professionals.
Experience has taught me how to build strong relationships with all departments at an organization. I have the ability to work within a team as well as cross-team.
I can work with web engineers to resolve technical issues and implement technical enhancements, work with the development department to implement design and functional enhancements, and monitor site statistics and conduct search engine optimization.
My salary requirement is in the $70,000 - $80,000 range. However, my salary is negotiable based on the overall compensation package.
I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.
Signature (hard copy letter)
Sending an Email Cover Letter
Subject Line: Jameis Smith - Web Design Specialist Position
Include your contact information in your email signature, and don't list the employer contact information at the top of the message. Start your email message with the salutation.
Be sure to format your email cover letter as you would any business email, with a salutation and a professional close.
Review More Sample Cover Letters
Review more cover letter samples and free downloadable templates for a variety of career fields and employment levels, including entry-level, targeted, and email cover letters for many different occupations.