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Salary requirement in a cover letter?

grungeboxgrungebox Registered User regular
edited March 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So I'm applying to jobs, and quite a few ask for the salary requirements to be specified in the cover letter. This one job specifically states: "...please send a resume along with a cover letter including salary requirements [emphasis mine] and position. Resumes that fail to include this preceding information will not be processed [emphasis mine]."

Um...what do I put there? It's an academic publishing job, so I can sort of ballpark an approximate figure, but I don't want to say something really low or really high in the cover letter. Google has basically turned up a lot of conflicting opinions whether or not to actually specify a hard number.

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    ZeonZeon Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    grungebox wrote: »
    So I'm applying to jobs, and quite a few ask for the salary requirements to be specified in the cover letter. This one job specifically states: "...please send a resume along with a cover letter including salary requirements [emphasis mine] and position. Resumes that fail to include this preceding information will not be processed [emphasis mine]."

    Um...what do I put there? It's an academic publishing job, so I can sort of ballpark an approximate figure, but I don't want to say something really low or really high in the cover letter. Google has basically turned up a lot of conflicting opinions whether or not to actually specify a hard number.

    Do you have a current job in the field or any friends in the field?

    Just specify an approximate amount, you can hash out the details in the interview, if you get one.

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    Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Give a range, like 40k-45k, based on similar job listings.

    Sir Carcass on
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    brandotheninjamasterbrandotheninjamaster Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If you specify a range be sure that you are comfortable with the bottom part of that range because odds are thats going to be your offer if things pan out for whatever company. A lot of companies I've observed hire on 2 basic principals; experience and budget (sometimes education is a big thing). Basically, do you have the experience to do said job and is what you are asking for in their budget is what they are going to wonder.

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    SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    It's kind of unusual for a cover letter, though, isn't it? Salary negotiations always occured at the end of an interview after I decided I was interested in joining the organization and the organization decided it was interested in hiring me. Wierd.

    If it was me, I'd submit a firm number instead of a range. If you signal that you're want as much as $45,000 but are willing to go as low as $40,000, why would you ever expect that they'll offer you the $45k when you've already told them you're willing to work for less? But that's just me. Have only ever done this in person. Your mileage may vary.

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    3lwap03lwap0 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    SammyF wrote: »
    It's kind of unusual for a cover letter, though, isn't it? Salary negotiations always occured at the end of an interview after I decided I was interested in joining the organization and the organization decided it was interested in hiring me. Wierd.
    .

    Same. Salary negotiation for me was always AFTER I was offered the job. I don't think I've ever seen a cover letter with requested salary on it.

    3lwap0 on
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    OrogogusOrogogus San DiegoRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Depends on the company. For most positions, my current company doesn't look at resumes unless the requested salary is included. I've never put it in unless asked to.

    Orogogus on
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    SerpentSerpent Sometimes Vancouver, BC, sometimes Brisbane, QLDRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    SammyF wrote: »
    It's kind of unusual for a cover letter

    You might think it's unusual, but it immediately clears a big hurdle.

    I put it in my cover letters whether it's asked for or not, and if I'm hiring, I like to see it.

    I don't want to waste my time interviewing for a job which doesn't meet my salary requirements, AND I don't want to waste time interviewing candidates which don't meet the companies salary requirements either.

    Serpent on
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    SolandraSolandra Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Bottom line, regardless of the etiquette involved in typical cover letters, is the fact that they've told you to include that information. Further, they've told you that not including it will result in automatic rejection. So you can offer a range, or a hard number, and submit the resume and maybe get an interview and later a job, or you can guarantee that you won't ever work for this company by not following instructions.

    If it was me, I'd choose a comfortable number or even a price range from that industry and include a note about whether that's negotiable based on available benefits. $25K may be impossible for someone if it doesn't include healthcare, but if the benefits package is very good, then that's workable.

    Solandra on
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    grungeboxgrungebox Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Okay, I'll put in some number I'm comfortable with. I don't know anyone in the area, so I'm just gauging based on metafilter and such what the typical salary might be. Is there a federal website that lists these sorts of statistics so that I at least have a baseline?

    grungebox on
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    CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    This always annoys me. I wish companies would always state a range in their job adverts. They are the ones with the budget, after all. Making the applicant state the salary first is just taking advantage of the company's power over potential employees, and the fact that a company will usually have a much better idea of the going rate for that particular job than any applicant.

    CelestialBadger on
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    JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    3lwap0 wrote: »
    SammyF wrote: »
    It's kind of unusual for a cover letter, though, isn't it? Salary negotiations always occured at the end of an interview after I decided I was interested in joining the organization and the organization decided it was interested in hiring me. Wierd.
    .

    Same. Salary negotiation for me was always AFTER I was offered the job. I don't think I've ever seen a cover letter with requested salary on it.

    I see it a lot in the web field. In fact, at least 50% of the time.


    Aim slightly high. It's not going to disqualify you from a phone interview at the least. They will just say "well you say you need X, but this position offers Y, will that be acceptable?". Shoot high because Y will always be less than X.

    Jasconius on
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    Zombie NirvanaZombie Nirvana Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I wouldn't answer it in my industry, but things may be different for publishing. If you are going to put a number make sure to do a range, but make sure the low part of that range is the absolute minimum for which you'd accept the job. Then you can negotiate from there, since that is obviously what most will offer you.

    Zombie Nirvana on
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    CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I wouldn't answer it in my industry

    If a company asks you to name a salary, you need to name one or you are wasting their time and yours. However, if they don't ask, don't name a figure until they have given you an offer.

    CelestialBadger on
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    OrogogusOrogogus San DiegoRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Sometimes they ask you for your salary history, which you can refuse to answer and just carry on with negotiations. But it seems odd not to provide a salary request if they ask for one.

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    BalgairBalgair Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Do not give a them a salary range unless you're completely satisfied with the bottom number.

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    JHunzJHunz Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    This always annoys me. I wish companies would always state a range in their job adverts. They are the ones with the budget, after all. Making the applicant state the salary first is just taking advantage of the company's power over potential employees, and the fact that a company will usually have a much better idea of the going rate for that particular job than any applicant.
    There are problems with that approach too:
    1) Other companies trying to hire the same candidates will know what you're offering.
    2) Everyone already employed by the company will know what you're offering for the new position. Ask an HR representative what their worst nightmare is, and it's probably that everyone at their company finds out exactly how much everyone else is making.
    3) Every candidate will know how much you're willing to go up to and will be insulted when you offer them something in the low or middle portion of the range.

    JHunz on
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    JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Whoever mentions money first in an interview loses. I've heard this from so many people. With the internet being pretty much the #1 medium for job hunting now, it's a lot easier (read: impersonal) to force the applicant to lock themselves into a figure. It's a win-win for HR because either you lowball yourself and they come out ahead, or they simply say "here's what we pay, take it or leave it".

    Just don't lock yourself too low. Remember things like taxes, benefit deductions, etc, when calculating your minimum. When I got my first job I bit myself hard and forgot about that stuff and ended up making slightly less than what was really comfortable.

    Jasconius on
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    CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    JHunz wrote: »
    There are problems with that approach too:
    1) Other companies trying to hire the same candidates will know what you're offering.
    2) Everyone already employed by the company will know what you're offering for the new position. Ask an HR representative what their worst nightmare is, and it's probably that everyone at their company finds out exactly how much everyone else is making.
    3) Every candidate will know how much you're willing to go up to and will be insulted when you offer them something in the low or middle portion of the range.

    1) If the company cares that much about a position to be paranoid about individual candidates being poached away, then they are probably at a salary range at which the power imbalance between employer and employee is much less than with ordinary jobs, and the job will probably be filled by networking/headhunting not ads posted on the internet.
    2) It is important to make the salary range honestly include everyone who is in that position already. If your employees at that level are making £18k, £21k and £25k then the salary range will be something like £16k - £28k. If the only way to get anyone to apply is to offer £25 - £35k then it is a good sign that pay rises are in order, to keep the employees you have already got.
    3) Personally I would rate it as whether it is a good deal for me or not. If I was making £25k and got an offer for £30k, I would consider it a good deal even if the stated range was £20k-£40k. Anyone who would get insulted by this has either been offered too little, or is so touchy that they would be a pain to work with anyway.

    CelestialBadger on
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