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  1. Career Advice
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  3. How to include your salary requirements in a cover letter
How to include your salary requirements in a cover letter
Profil Asad Faruqi

Asad Faruqi

How to include your salary requirements in a cover letter

Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova

  • Why do companies ask you to add your salary requirements to your cover letter?
  • How do you write your requirements in your cover letter?
  • Sample cover letter paragraphs with salary requirements
  • Where’s the ideal place in my cover letter to include my salary requirements?
  • Key takeaways

When it comes to adding your salary requirements to your cover letter, you don’t want to exaggerate or end up underselling yourself. So, how do you walk the fine line between being humble and demanding what you think you’re worth? Here are a few strategies to help you out.

Let’s face it - writing a cover letter can be a daunting task. Even the most seasoned of all professionals often fail to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Now imagine having to include your remuneration expectations in your cover letter as part of a job application.

If you’re wondering how to include your salary requirements in a cover letter, you’ve come to the right place! 

In this blog post, we shall explore:

  • The importance of including your salary expectations in a cover letter

  • Tips on adding your salary requirements to your cover letter

  • Examples of cover letters with salary expectations

  • The ideal placement for salary requirements

Why do companies ask you to add your salary requirements to your cover letter?

Expert Tip

See if they ask you for it first

Adding your salary requirements to your cover letter isn’t a hard-and-fast rule.

In fact, you should consider including these details only if your prospective employer specifically asks you to do so. If a company specifically asks you to include your salary expectations in your cover letter, then think of this requirement as a dealbreaker. If you don’t include your salary requirements, you’re unlikely to make it past the first round of screening.

Some employers require job applicants to state their salary expectations when applying for the job. This information is typically added to the cover letter. There are a couple of reasons why some companies follow this approach.

To save everyone time

Even in the era of applicant tracking systems, organizations are still devising new ways to streamline the hiring process and scout the best talent. To save everyone some time, they ask job applicants to specify their expected salary. If the applicant’s salary expectations are close to the company’s budget set for that job role, the applicant is more likely to make it to the next round of the hiring process.

To evaluate the applicant’s knowledge

Whenever an organization actively recruits for a job title, it sets the remuneration package in line with the duties involved and the skills and experience required for that job role. Such organizations typically expect the job applicant to have some idea about the market rate for the job. In this way, the organization can assess whether the prospective employee is aware of what the job entails and what the standard salary would look like. In essence, it’s a subtle tactic to determine whether the job applicant is lowballing or asking too much.

To set a margin for negotiation

If a prospective employer is asking you to include your salary requirements in your cover letter at the onset of the job application process, then they’re probably trying to set a maximum threshold for any salary negotiations that take place during or after the job interview. For instance, if the company has established an annual salary for the job role at $120,000 and you’re asking for $130,000, the company may try to negotiate on $125,000.

How do you write your requirements in your cover letter?

Now that we’ve looked at some of the reasons why employers might expect you to add your salary requirements to a cover letter, let’s take a look at some tips and tricks on how to do so.

Research the market and how you fit

First off, you need to research the job role and the industry and take an honest look at your education, previous experience, and skills. For instance, in the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a comprehensive overview of the median salary ranges for different job titles. Consider the following particulars when determining the appropriate salary requirements for your prospective job.

  • Education: A college degree plays an important role in your remuneration package. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can expect a lower salary than someone with a master’s or a higher degree. While some organizations accept relevant job experience in lieu of a college education, a college degree is still an important deciding factor for your remuneration package. You may also want to evaluate the relevance of your college degree with respect to the job you’re applying for. If you have a degree in philosophy and you’re applying for a job in accounting, your degree might not be considered at all for your salary requirements. 

  • Experience: Take a look at the number of years you’ve been in the industry. Typically, the longer you’ve been in the industry, the higher your target salary should be. However, this rule might not hold true if you’re switching industries, such as moving from accounting to sales.


Your salary requirements should take into consideration the location of your prospective employer. For example, if the employer is located in an upscale city with a high cost of living, you may want to consider the cost of living in that area when setting your salary requirements. In most cases, employers take into account the location and cost of living when setting their own budget for the job role.


During the course of your previous employment or your college years (if you’re a new entrant), you must’ve acquired several skills that could potentially make you an ideal fit for the role. These could be soft skills (such as leadership, team building, and public speaking) or technical skills (such as programming, coding, and web design). If you have any skills that could be relevant to the job you’re applying for, make sure to consider them when setting your salary expectations. 

Past salary

Your existing salary (or even the salary at your previous job) could provide some indication of what your new salary requirements should be. For example, if you’re working as a Sales Manager at a company and you want to apply for a Sales Manager position at another organization, your salary expectations should definitely be higher than what you’re earning right now (why else would you want to make a switch?).

Other factors

In addition to the factors listed above, you should also consider any job-related certification courses you have completed and try to leverage them when setting your salary requirements. Look at the other benefits the company is offering and try to set some reasonable salary expectations. Another important factor could be the prevalent market conditions. For instance, if you’re switching jobs in times of high unemployment, you may want to include the cost of that uncertainty in your salary considerations. Inflation and the rising cost of living are also factors worth considering. 

How to include your salary requirements in a cover letter: provide a salary range

When adding your salary to your cover letter, it’s best to provide a range instead of a number. For instance, instead of saying, ‘My salary requirement for this job is $85,000,’ you should say, ‘My salary requirement for this job is in the range of $80,000 to $90,000.

Adding a desired salary range does not give your employer a specific figure, but it does provide them with a baseline expectation and some wiggle room for negotiation. This way, you can increase your chances of making it past the initial screening stage without the fear of being dismissed for lowballing or asking too much.

Be flexible

Just like providing your salary requirements in a cover letter is not a hard-and-fast rule, being rigid on your salary expectations isn’t the best approach. Whenever you’re providing a salary range, make sure to state that you’re flexible and willing to negotiate. This way, you’re also communicating a positive message to your potential employer that you’re not just applying for the salary, but also for the learning experience, growth opportunities, and other benefits.

Consider being indirect

Sometimes, being indirect is the way to go. If it’s difficult for you to obtain reliable figures for the job you’re applying for, you can mention in your cover letter that your expected salary should be in-line with the industry average. In such cases, you should also indicate that you’re more concerned about delivering results and improving the bottom line. This is where you might want to beat around the bush!

Sample cover letter paragraphs with salary requirements


When adding your salary requirements to your cover letter, you can edit and add one of the following paragraphs to your cover letter:

Example #1: 

Based on my education, skills, extensive experience in leadership roles at my previous organizations, and the job duties and responsibilities outlined in your job posting, my salary requirement is $[number] per year. Please note that I am open to negotiation on the remuneration package once I have a better picture of your company’s culture, growth opportunities, and how my job role will fit into the big picture.

Example #2: 

My salary expectations are in line with my extensive education in the field of [field name], [number] years of experience in the [industry name] sector, and in-depth knowledge of subject-matter expertise in [relevant job-related skills]. I would like to request a salary within the range of $[number] to $[number] per year. In light of the growth opportunities and other benefits offered by your organization, I’m happy to negotiate on the salary. 

Example #3: 

I would like to state my salary expectations within the range of $[number] to $[number] per year, which are in line with the industry average for this job role for an individual with the same educational background and professional experience as me. This salary is negotiable. 

Example #4:

My target salary range for this job role is between $[number] to $[number] per year. I believe this range is reasonable for someone with my education, skills, and prior experience within this sector, but I’m more than willing to negotiate on the salary. I look forward to learning about non-compensation perks, such as job growth and recognition, that will supplement my salary and allow me to stay at your organization for the long haul.

Example #5:

For this job role, I would like to state my salary expectations between $[number] and $[number]. My salary expectations are not only at par with the industry average for this job role, but they’re also negotiable based on the other benefits offered by your organization.

Example #6: (If the job is in a different city and you might need to relocate)

With regards to the job duties and responsibilities, I would like to set my target salary between $[number] and $[number]. My expectations are based on my previous experience, job-related skill set, and the fact that I might be required to relocate to the city where your office is situated. 

Example #7: (If you’re unable to find out the average salary for the job role)

Salary negotiations are an important aspect of the hiring process. However, at this point, I am not ready to discuss my salary requirements. If you think my education and experience are at par with the job role, then I would be happy to discuss my salary expectations. I assure you that my salary requirements will be negotiable, depending on the nature of the job, growth opportunities, and other incentives at the workplace.

Example #8: (If you’re not willing to disclose your salary requirements)

While salary is a crucial deciding factor for any job role, I am not comfortable sharing my salary requirements at this point. I strongly believe that an organization, such as yours, that emphasizes its employees’ well-being, offers an abundance of learning and career growth opportunities, and is driven by strong ethical values will surely provide adequate compensation for my job efforts. 

Example #9: (If you want to keep things vague)

As far as my salary expectations are concerned, I would like to request an amount that someone with my experience and skill set is likely to earn in this job role. I trust your organization is fair with its compensation packages, and I am open to negotiations. 

Where’s the ideal place in my cover letter to include my salary requirements?

As stated before, including salary requirements is not a prerequisite for drafting a cover letter. This is why there really isn’t an ideal ‘sweet spot’ to add your salary requirements to your cover letter. Typically, your cover letter should consist of an introductory paragraph, followed by 2-3 short paragraphs explaining why you’re the perfect fit for this role. You should consider adding your salary requirements to one of these paragraphs. 

Another area where you could potentially fit your salary requirements is the last paragraph of your cover letter. Before closing on a positive note, you can briefly mention your salary requirements and the fact that you’re willing to negotiate. This should give you plenty of time to make an impression on the reader and then end the letter with a reasonable and realistic expectation of your remuneration package. 

Key takeaways

Adding your salary requirements to your cover letter might seem like a challenging task, but it’s not rocket science.

  1. Remember, if the job posting expressly asks you to include your salary requirements in a cover letter, you need to include it. Otherwise, don’t mention it in your cover letter.

  2. Before mentioning your salary requirements, it’s important to do some research and self-reflection. Do you have the necessary education, relevant experience, and necessary skill set for this job? What is the industry average salary range for the job? How much do you think someone with your background should be making in that job?

  3. Instead of providing a lump-sum figure, it’s better to provide a salary range in your cover letter. Also, don’t forget to mention that you’re willing to negotiate your salary.

  4. When writing a cover letter, leave the first few paragraphs to introduce yourself and talk about why you’re a good fit for that role. Next, you should consider adding your salary requirements in a couple of lines.

  5. Make sure to mention that your salary requirements are not only at par with your education, skills, previous experience, and other factors, but it’s also in accordance with the average salaries for that job role in your region.

Profil Asad Faruqi

Asad Faruqi

Asad is a digital content creator and recruiter. Since 2014, he has written on a wide variety of topics, including technology, finance, human resources, and marketing. Throughout his professional career, Asad has recruited and trained content writers for various software companies and marketing agencies, and he enjoys mentoring new immigrants in Canada on job interview best practices and networking techniques.

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