Salary requirements & expectations

Salary requirements in your cover letter and resume. Also, how to answer expected salary question on application forms and at interviews. 

Salary requirements in your cover letter and resume.

  • Don’t include salary requirements in your cover letter or resume.
  • Be prepared by reading the full article below for vital details, tips and examples. 
  • Don’t provide a salary range. Because if you provide a range, the employer will most likely offer you a salary at the low end of your range.
  • See the examples of how to answer what is your desired pay in an email.
  • How to answer desired pay question on application forms and at job interviews.
  • Avoid answering annual compensation at the initial application stage and initial interview.

How to answer salary requirements question on application forms and at job interviews

  • Research the market as soon as you start job searching. But delay responding to desired remuneration as long as possible.
  • For certain jobs, you will probably be asked for an hourly rate.
  • It is best not to provide your desired pay, even though employers ask for this on online applications and at interviews.
  • It is much easier to start with higher pay than to start with low pay and then earn a quick pay raise. Because it is not easy to receive a high pay raise shortly after starting.
  • If you do not negotiate, you could lose more than $420,000. Because $9,000 at the start of your career may not be much. However, it adds up over the course of your career.
  • And be prepared to negotiate your annual or hourly rate, before you start applying. Because if you indicate a low annual or hourly rate on your online application, it would be difficult to ask for more once the company makes you an employment offer. This is explained in detail below.
  • If you have 2 employment offers, it is usually easier to negotiate. Then you can decide which offer suites you best. Avoid going back and forth more than a couple of times, so you do not end up with no offers.

My clients ask for assistance with the following:

  • How to include salary requirements in cover letter or resume.
  • I accepted an employment offer last week and already agreed on a starting date. Today, I was offered a higher offer from another company. Can I go back to the first company and ask for more?
  • How to ask for a raise as a woman.
  • Can I ask for more pay, even though the company offered me more than I asked for at the interview?
  • How to ask for higher remuneration, as I never asked before.
  • Is it better to provide a pay range or an exact figure?
  • I have been asked if the company increases the offer, would I accept it immediately. But I am not sure what to do, as another company is making me an offer next week.
  • Why do women need to more assertive when negotiating compensation?
  • My immediate manager won’t agree to giving me a pay raise. Can I complain to HR or to the CEO?

Should you include your salary requirements in your cover letter, CV, resume or application forms?

  • No. Don’t include this anywhere.
  • Focus on making your resume stand out. This would help to get selected and also to justify a higher remuneration after you receive the employment offer.

How to answer what is your expected salary range

  • Try to delay answering desired remuneration until you have an offer.
  • But if the employer insists, it is best to give a specific higher figure, instead of a range.
  • If you give a range, the employer will most likely make you an offer on the low end of the range.

Expected salary answers and examples

  • If you ask for less than their budget, you may miss out on a higher salary.
  • And if you ask for more than their budget, they may eliminate you before they get to know what you have to offer.

When asked, you can say something like:

  • I am happy to negotiate.
  • Or I am sure we will agree on the remuneration.

Is the salary expectations question only for managers?

  • No. This desired remuneration question is applicable to all levels. Including CEOs, CFOs, senior managers and engineers. Also, executives, auditors, machine learning managers, analysts, data scientists. AI professionals, teachers, tellers and buyers. In addition to childcare educators, planners, sales reps, accountants, university students and entry level positions.
  • Also, it is applicable to all industries and applicable to women and men.

Let me work with you to negotiate terms of contract and counteroffer.

When is the best time to respond to the pay requirements question?

  • On online job applications, they ask what your desired pay is. Try to avoid giving a figure.
  • At the interview, the question of desired remuneration usually comes up. Indicate that you are negotiable. This is also asked at face-to-face interviews. In addition to virtual interviews, video interviews and phone interviews. Also see my virtual interview tips, as virtual interviews and video interviews are more common now. 
  • Let the employer decide to hire you first. As you will be in a better position to negotiate. Then discuss annual package or hourly rate.
  • If you mention your desired pay at the initial stage, they may eliminate you before knowing more about your value. So let them know more about your achievements and the value you would bring.
  • However, the employer may ask you a second time. Say something like: “career path is most important to me”. 
  • If the employer asks for a third time, then it is best to give a dollar figure at this stage. I suggest at this stage to give a higher figure than what you would accept and indicate that this figure is negotiable.
  • Negotiate after you receive the employment offer. So, these are the reasons it is best to delay giving your desired annual or hourly rate.
  • So always negotiate after they offer you the job. But before you accept the offer. Be serious in your moves.

Assisting clients worldwide, with my coaching services

  • Check out my salary negotiation training and coaching services for women and men. Assisting clients worldwide, including clients in Australia, the United States, Canada, Ireland, Singapore, Brazil, United Kingdom and Japan.
  • This is one of the most asked interview questions and online application questions. 
  • For certain roles, you will be asked for an hourly rate.
  • Also check out these 3 counteroffer negotiation examples. And do not include desired remuneration in your cover letter, resume, CV or application email.
  • Also, another common interview question is: what is your current remuneration?

This article was updated on 17 September 2023. 

Ask me any questions about salary requirements, why not to provide a salary range and how to answer expected salary question on application forms and at job interviews.

Based in Sydney, NSW, Australia.