A salary requirement is the salary amount that the job applicant determines they would like to be paid. The salary requirement helps reveal crucial information about the applicant to the potential employer. When coming up with the salary requirement, the applicant should base it on their previous salary, experience, skills, and the cost of living in their work area.
There are various reasons why employers might request the applicant to include their salary requirements in their application. Such reasons include:
- To see how the applicant values their skills and experience
- To ensure that the applicant’s salary expectations are in line with the company’s budget
- To analyze the salary expectation of different candidates for that position
The salary requirement can be included either as a range or a specific amount. This normally depends on what the employer specifies in their inquiry. However, it is not always that employers ask the job applicants to include their salary requirements in their application. If not requested to do so, do not include your salary requirement in the application, as mentioning a higher salary amount may lead you to be priced out of an interview or job offer, and mentioning a lower salary amount may make the employer question your skills and experience and have you boxed into a less than preferable salary category.
PRO TIP: Do not include salary requirements unless required to do so by the job posting
Calculating Fair Salary Requirements
Suppose the employer asks that you include your salary requirement in your job application. In that case, it is important that you take your time and determine a figure or range that you are comfortable with. While you may be tempted to include a higher salary amount than your current compensation, ensure that it is reasonable enough to convince the employer that you are the best fit for the role. Here are key things to consider to help you calculate a fair salary requirement.
Industry standard for the position
The first thing to do is to research the industry standards for the position you are applying for. Conducting thorough research can help you get more insights into the position you are applying for and include a salary amount that’s within the industry’s standards.
When it comes to the salary requirements, there are various factors that you have to consider as such factors can impact what the salary amount should be. Here are factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding the salary requirements:
The position/role that you are applying for has a large impact on how much you are supposed to earn. For example, if applying for an entry-level position in an organization, the salary requirement included should not be the same as that of an expert-level applicant.
The industry usually has a huge impact on an employee’s earnings, even for the same job. For instance, an administrative assistant working in a law firm earns much more compared to an administrative assistant working in a federal job.
PRO TIP: If you must include a salary range in your application, make sure you provide one that provides flexibility.
Different countries and cities have different costs of living. Due to this, the salary for one job may be significantly higher in one geographical location and lower in another. For example, if applying for a job in a metropolitan area such as San Francisco. In that case, you may consider pushing for a higher salary amount than if you are applying for the same job in more rural zones such as Boise, Idaho.
Suppose you are applying for a job that requires you to have an advanced degree or other certifications other than the basic ones, such as a master’s degree. In that case, the job should pay more than what would be offered for a job that required only an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree. Consider offering a realistic salary expectation if you are looking to apply for a position that you are overqualified for.
For instance, if you have a master’s degree and you apply for a job that only requires a bachelor’s or an associate degree, you may want to include a higher salary since you have an advanced degree. You shouldn’t be inclined to do so; if you do, the employer may decide to go with a candidate whose requirements and salary expectations are in line with what they have budgeted for.
PRO TIP: Always emphasize that your salary requirement is flexible
Experience and skills
If you have work experience or if there is a high demand for your skills, you should consider basing your salary range on the higher end of the industry standard. Consequently, if you are new to the position, you should consider approaching your salary requirement from the lower end. Basically, in most industries, the more skills and experience you have for a given position, the higher the salary you can earn.
To help you determine the salary amount to include in the application that is reasonable for your level of expertise, profession, and location, consider using online salary calculators. Online salary calculators factor in your cost of living expenses while determining a realistic salary for the position that you are applying for. You can also find industry-specific calculators, and that can help you calculate a reasonable salary based on your geographical location.
Another key item that must be taken into consideration when determining the salary requirements is the current earnings. Basically, the salary requirement mentioned should be greater than what one is currently making. However, it should not be higher than the industry’s standard earnings.
NOTE: When mentioning your salary amount, it is important that you make your range reasonable. It will do you any good to ask for a higher salary amount than what the organization can possibly offer. For instance, do not mention that your salary range is between $50,000 and $90,000 when the average salary amount for that position is $60,000. Try to make your range within 20-30% of the midrange.
Cost of living expenses
It is important that before mentioning your salary requirement, you first get to understand your monthly expenses, as that can give you a rough idea of how much you need to be earning in order to cater to all your monthly expenses. If you will be moving to a new city or state, it is important that you anticipate changes in your monthly expenditure and take them into account when determining your salary requirements.
Listing Your Salary Requirements
If required to include the salary expectation in your application, do not ignore it. Follow the requirements later during the application process. If you fail to do so, the employer may worry about your ability to follow directions in the future and reject your job application.
There are three key options that can be used when listing the salary requirements, including:
Including a salary range
If the job application asks that you provide your salary requirement but does not specify the amount or range, this is the best option to use. Providing a salary range allows for the greatest flexibility and provides one with the best chance of falling within the company’s desired range. When providing a salary range, ensure that it is realistic and based on your skills, experience, and previous salaries. While providing the salary range won’t give the employer the exact salary amount, it will give them an idea of what you are hoping to earn.
Negotiable salary requirements
Another option that one can use, especially when they are uncomfortable to disclose their salary requirements, is to state that their salary requirements are negotiable. This gives both parties some flexibility and can grant you the opportunity to negotiate a salary amount that you can both agree on.
State that you are flexible
Whether you include in your application that your salary requirements are flexible or include a specific salary amount, you can mention that your salary requirements are flexible. This is very useful, particularly if you don’t know the specific salary amount in that particular industry. Stating that your salary requirement is flexible will ensure that the employer doesn’t pass on your application and at the same time give you an opportunity to meet and discuss your salary with them at a later date.
Salary Requirement Sample
Sample salary requirement on a Customer Care Representative Cover Letter:
After going through the duties and responsibilities listed in the job description, I would prefer a starting salary of $50,000, not including benefits, but I am open to negotiation.
Sample Salary Requirement on an Administrative Assistant Cover Letter
My Salary requirement is between $55,000-$75,000; however, this figure is flexible depending upon the compensation package.
Nursing Cover Letter Salary Requirements
Based on my skills, experience, and certification, I am hoping for a salary offer of $75,000-$80,000. However, I can be flexible, and I’m willing to negotiate this requirement.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When applying for an entry-level position, start with a figure that is no more than 10-20% above the initial offer. If the 10-20% offer places you above the average, consider negotiating for a lower amount.
You can negotiate a higher salary with no experience if you have the needed skills for the job, autonomy, loyalty, passion if your work quality is up to the required standards, and social skills and fit.
It is not bad to ask for a higher starting salary. However, suppose the company has the salary range or specific amount listed in the job advert. In that case, it is probably not a randomly chosen range. In most cases, the company can’t offer more than what is listed.
Salary requirements can either be a deal maker or a deal-breaker. As such, it is important to treat with caution when including it in the job application. If not required to include it in the application, it is recommended that you do not include it. However, if required, you should consider the above-listed options to make sure that you don’t lose your chance of getting the job.