Cover Letters With A Salary Requirement or Salary History

Sometimes job classified advertisements will request you disclose your salary history or salary requirement when submitting your resume.  If an employer requests that you include a salary requirement or salary history, do so in your cover letter, unless the ad specifically instructed you to include it on your resume or somewhere else.  Insert a paragraph on your cover letter just before your closing paragraph that discusses your salary history or salary requirement. 

Salary History:  A salary history is just that -- a history of your ending salaries at every job you have ever worked (or the jobs you've held the past 10 or 15 years). When a prospective employer requests a salary history, he is attempting to put himself in a better bargaining position when negotiating your salary and to weed out those who earn too much or too little.

Salary Requirement: A salary requirement is the salary you expect to be offered excluding benefits, bonuses and such.  In order to negotiate effectively, you should visit www.salary.com which offers information on what people earn in all regions of the country in hundreds of professions.  A sample cover letter with a salary history is below.

You should try to avoid disclosing salary in your cover letter if at all possible.  Unfortunately, by doing so, you risk being overlooked for certain positions.  Of course, if your salary history / requirement is in line with what the prospective employer offers, then there is no reason to avoid this topic as your salary is compatible with their compensation package.

Career experts are divided as to whether or not you should apply for a position without submitting a salary history or salary requirement when one has been requested.  Some experts say that applicants who are really qualified can get away with ignoring the request; others say that your resume will be trashed if you do not send a salary history / requirement.  A recent survey of HR professionals found that the overwhelming majority of them would not dismiss a candidate for failure to comply with the request for salary information. 

Of course, you should never offer a salary history or state a salary requirement unless it is requested or you are networking with a search firm or personal contact.   Otherwise, try to avoid the topic until the job interview or after you have been offered the job. 

Cover Letters With A Salary Requirement or Salary History

Examples  (Insert this paragraph just before your last paragraph on your cover letter):

Sample 1:  As you requested, I am disclosing the minimum annual salary I would require to accept employment with your firm. This amount is $____ per month excluding benefits.  This amount is based on thorough research I conducted on the Internet, particularly at Salary.com, and takes into consideration my lengthy employment history in the ______ field and the cost of living in the San Francisco area.

Sample 2:  Your advertisement requested that I disclose my salary history.  My beginning and ending salaries are provided below and exclude the value of health insurance and other benefits:

Employer        Dates of EmploymentBeginning SalaryEnding Salary

Acme Industries01/2004 to 01/2014           $42K                     $99K
XYZ Corporation02/1998 to 12/2003            $27K                    $36K
NNN Company  02/1996 to 01/1998           $16K                     $22K

(Note that it is not necessary to disclose a complete salary history.  Providing your salary history for the last 10 to 15 years is sufficient.)

Sample 3:  As to my salary requirement, I am completely open to negotiation on the subject and will be prepared to discuss this with you in more detail if I am given the opportunity to interview for this position.

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