5 Things You Should Know About Salary Requirements

5 Things You Should Know About Salary Requirements

"What are your salary requirements" is a difficult question for job applicants to answer on a resume or in an interview. Many candidates think it's a trick question – it can be embarrassing to talk about salary and they're afraid of giving an unreasonable answer, so they give up their chance to negotiate salaries and accept their first offer. It requires information and research about salary requirements to give a reasonable answer to this question. This article will tell you what kind of preparation is required to answer the question.

This guide will cover: Wwy the question "what are your salary requirements" matters, how to know the range of your salary requirements, how to include salary requirements in a cover letter, how to answer salary requirements (4B negotiation skills) and futher advice.


  1. Why the question "what are your salary requirements" matters?
  2. How to know your salary requirements range
  3. Cover letter with salary requirements: how to include salary requirements in a cover letter?
  4. How to answer salary requirements: the 4B negotiation skills
  5. Advice

Why the question "what are your salary requirements" matters?

As a job applicant, proper salary requirements show a self reflective knowledge of your work's value and consideration of your cost of living. Salary plays an important role in life and is one of the key factors in a job, reflecting show your talents and skills reasonably, as well as providing a motivating factor. There's no reason to be shy or afraid to talk about your compensation requirement, after all it is an inevitable topic everybody will negotiate with their potential employer. Additionally, an interview is a two-way communication between candidates and recruiters. For job applicants, salary is a critical factor to consider when applying for a job. Supplying your salary requirement is the first step in your salary negotiation. It works the same way for companies. Usually, a company has a budget for various positions when hiring, and a candidate's salary requirements can be a point of reference, as well as a standard, for recruiters to make choices in the hiring process. Of course, a candidate may lose an opportunity if their salary requirement is by far beyond the company's budget. What's more, this topic is a must in interviews, and can come up in an interview. For the interviewer's point of view your answer is more than just a few words. They use your response to make an educated decision and decide if you will move to the next round. If you are logical and well-prepared for this question, it will reflect positively on your interview; this question can impact the outcome of the interview.

How to know your salary requirements range

  • Cost of living

    The first thing about your salary research is to know the minimum compensation requirement. Search the cost of living in your city, a fundamental factor to decide your minimum salary requirement. Different locations will impact the cost of living, sometimes even down to the zipcode. In the beginning, focus less on other elements like education or experience and focus on the local cost of living. Calculate the minimum cost of living after you have enough data (e.g., rent and utilities, cost of travel, etc.) . This figure will be your minimum salary requirement -- make sure this figure can guarantee your lowes

  • Education

    Usually, people with a master's degree will have a higher salary than those with a bachelor degree. Of course, the level of education can be a strength with a salary requirement, but some positions don't require it and having say a master's may make you too expensive as a candidate.

  • Experience

    The more experienced you are in a similar position, the more competitive you will be in the job application process and the higher your salary requirement can be.

  • Personal skills

    If you master a key skill which is in high demanded for a company or industry, this will be a great bargaining chip for your salary negotiation.

  • The position you're applying for

    Usually, a specific job level has a specific salary range for a company. Search for the average salary of the position you're applying for, this will be a good reference for you to have a reasonable compensation requirement.

  • Salary requirements are more than just salary

    There may be a limit on the salary for a company, but it doesn't mean your salary is your final income – pay attention to the bonus structure. There are many kinds of bonuses that companies can offer their employees, such as a performance bonus or an annual bonus. Furthermore, benefits such as free parking and dental or medical are also included in your salary requirements. Don't ignore this part—they all factor into your compensation requirement goals.

Cover letter with salary requirements: how to include salary requirements in a cover letter?

When submitting a cover letter, you may be asked to write down your salary requirements, or you may want to indicate it. How should you deal with this situation and accurately communicate your salary requirements to HR and the company?

Here are some tips: be short, clear, and flexible

HR doesn't always like long cover letters. For them, a longer letter cover letter could contain too much redundant information. Therefore, when you include your salary requirements in your cover letter, you must make this information as short as possible.

That being said, short does not mean ambiguity. On one hand, you need to be brief, while on the other hand, , you need to convey your ideas very clearly. Used correctly, a short and accurate sentence will get your point across.

Of course, you cannot always predict the variables. If you are particularly passionate about a role, you may make concessions; you may give up a higher base pay if you love the work the company does, and this could improve the success rate of getting the job. You may also find that the benefits you have in your application outside the salary are considerable. You will also want to leave room for you to find ways to improve your future within the company, like a 6-month review for a potential raise. In order to make you a strong candidate, flexibility with your salary requirements is important.

To summarize, when you put salary requirements in the cover letter, all you need to do is to complete a short, clear, and flexible description. For example, if you are applying for a software engineer, your salary requirement is $100,000-150,000, you could include the following in your cover letter:

"My salary requirement is $100,000-150,000. However, my salary requirements can be negotiated based on job requirements and compensation package."

Don't want to include salary requirements in your cover letter?

Although our analysts believe that it is important to clearly write your salary requirements in the cover letter——it is related to the demand between the job seeker and the company, and can reduce many communication obstacles——sometimes, you do encounter situations where you do not want to write your own salary requirements. No matter what the reason is, you should consider how to express your idea.

It may be easier not to mention your salary requirements, but this could make your cover letter look incomplete. A better approach is to use the tips above, not include salary requirements, but make it clear you are open to negotiation. For example:

"My salary requirements can be negotiated based on job requirements and compensation package."

We still strongly recommend job seekers leave their clear salary requirements in their cover letter.

How to answer salary requirements: the 4Bs negotiation skills

When an applicant enters the interview phase, a common interview question is: "What is your salary requirement?" How should job seekers answer this question? Our analysts summed up some negotiation skills for the job seekers, and they are called "The 4Bs".

  • Be confident

    The most significant thing is the mentality of the job seeker, maintain a confident attitude! You must believe that you are qualified for the job and are worthy of your salary requirements. Based on this, the interviewee will not be at a disadvantage in the negotiations. The source of your confidence is also important. You need to be qualified. In addition, a calm state of mind is useful to the interviewee. Taking a deep breath, think of possible questions you will be asked,and stay calm. A confident mindset will also help the recruiter be confident in you.

  • Begin with a high salary expectation

    Starting with a high salary expectation can be a useful negotiation skill. For both the applicant and the hiring company, salary negotiation is almost like a game process; one wants a higher salary, and the other wants to a lower salary. In this way, the applicant is easy to read. The interviewer will try to lower your expected salary, and the more room you have between the bottom line and the highest expectation, the more you could get. Of course, if the interviewer doesn't try to lower your expectation, that will be great.

  • Based on facts and logic

    Although the applicant is involved in something like a game, being honest is still important. You need to give your own evidence to make the interviewer convinced of your salary requirements. Your salary requirement to be based on facts and logic. You can refer to How to know your salary requirements range for how you can give your reasonable salary requirements. Furthermore, you need to systematically inform the interviewers what you think.

  • Be flexible

    Like including salary requirements in the cover letter, being flexible is also an important skill when asked about salary requirements during an interview. Try to watch interviewer's reaction and negotiate around the expected salary range you set for yourself.


Finally, with salary requirements, you are looking for a job to support yourself and your family, remember not to force yourself to accept a low-paying job. A reasonable salary requirement is what you deserve, but never say never. You never know what will happen next, be flexible, and maybe land your ideal job and salary.

Need more information for better performance in salary negotiation? Here are some other useful articles:

12 Dos and Don'ts for Negotiating Salary in a Tough Economy

3 Reasons Not to Negotiate Salary after Accepting an Offer

How to Get Around Salary Boxes On an Online Job Application

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