Salary Request in Cover Letter Can Undersell You


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: Dave writes: I made the mistake of writing my salary request in my cover letter (per the request of the person that recommended me for the position). Two months have passed since I submitted the resume and I finally have an interview. Now I wish I would have asked for more. Is there a way to ask for more money now or should I just cut my losses and look to another company for a position.
The Career Doctor responds: Don’t give up just yet! While it is quite often a mistake to put your salary requirements in your cover letter, you do have an interview — so, by following protocol, you have moved to the next step in the employment process. The question you need to ask yourself at this point is how much you really want the position. Is the position a “dream job” at a “dream company?” If you really want the position, I suggest you go for it. I would also suggest talking with the person who recommended you for the position to see if you can get the salary range to determine if your current demands are in the salary range. Then go to the interview and knock their socks off. Don’t mention salary requirements until the employer does; spend the time leading up to the first mention of salary by showing how you’ll make critical contributions to the company. Once salary is raised, you’ll need to be prepared with reasons for why you now feel you warrant a higher salary; perhaps you have since gotten a promotion, further education, or earned a certification. Most employers are willing to negotiate. For more information, tips, and strategies regarding salary negotiation, I suggest you go to our Salary and Job Offer Negotiation Tutorial.