Should I Include Salary Requirements on My Cover Letter, Resume, or Application When Asked?

Great Resumes Fast » Job Search » Should I Include Salary Requirements on My Cover Letter, Resume, or Application When Asked?

I recently found myself baffled.

Yes, baffled.

I placed an ad with a prominent, industry-related newsletter seeking a few new, talented, certified resume writers to add to our team. One of the requirements of the application submission included submitting a few samples of previous work the writers had completed—and also a request that they submit their fee requirements. Of all the submissions we received, only one candidate included fee requirements in the cover letter. Shocking, considering this was directly addressed in the ad.

Now, I’m not sure why most of the candidates neglected to include this information; perhaps it was because they simply didn’t pay attention to the specifics in the ad—or maybe they were in such a hurry to apply, they merely forgot to include it—or what’s more, they may have been hesitant to include the information because they thought it might exclude them from consideration for the position.

Whatever the case may be, neglecting to include information specifically requested in a job ad is a surefire way to find yourself in the NO pile. I’m not trying to be harsh or exclusive; so let me explain the reasoning … from the point of view of a hiring manager …

First, most employers know from the start exactly what their salary range is for a particular position—and they know the maximum they can afford to pay someone to fill that position. It wouldn’t make sense to waste their time (or yours) interviewing for a position that pays $20,000 less than you would be willing to accept. Conversely, you could be investing your time interviewing for positions that are within your salary range instead of ones that are below it.

In my line of work, there is a massive disparity between the fees writers will accept. Some writers want hundreds of dollars per project—but some ask for significantly less. If someone requests more money than what we charge our clients per project, then obviously, this isn’t a good fit for either of us.

Secondly, forgetting to include this information shows a lack of attention to detail—or a failure to follow specific instructions. Neither bodes well as a strength for a potential new employee, and easily moves that person to the “not a perfect match” stack.

So here is my suggestion: be honest about what you want. You know what you can and cannot accept, and what salary you can and cannot live with. Don’t give an exact number; provide the prospective employer with a range. For example, say high 30s, low 40s. You don’t have to say $38,000 firm. And a range works well if you’re concerned about being removed from consideration for a position because of salary.

And for goodness sake, pay attention to the application requirements; and always provide information or answers to anything—and everything—they’re requesting. It shows that you can follow directions, pay attention to detail, and provide what they need.

It’s important to remember to brand your resume before applying to each new position for more information on branding check out my recent article 5 Key Areas to Target When Branding Your Resume. You can also get additional job search and career related advice by checking out our blog or following us on Twitter @GreatResume.

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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


  1. Daily Link Roundup 09-11-12 | on September 11, 2012 at 10:37 am

    […] Should I Include Salary Requirements on My Cover Letter, Resume, or Application When Asked? – […]

  2. Josh Tolan on September 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    This is good advice most job seekers should be aware of. If the posting asks for a salary range, job applicants should be sure to include it with their resume and cover letter. If they are recording a video resume to send along, candidates can even spend a few seconds explaining their salary range if there are explanations necessary. The important thing is to never leave off pertinent information, or your applications will automatically end up in the rejected pile.

  3. Elliot DeBear on September 12, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Asking for salary requirements from a candidate upfront is an unrealistic question to pose to the candidate and can short change the hiring company. Salary requirements, especially at executive levels, should take place only after the candidate has been able to review in detail, and personally, the criteria of the job, understand the authority of the position, how the company makes money and the compensation options that exist within the company at different levels. Why? Because the candidate may alter salary requirements based on the interview, chemistry, culture and future opportunity represented by the position and/or particular industry. When I see such requirements in job postings my first thought is that the company is trying to find out if they can fill the position internally cheaper.

  4. Doris Appelbaum on September 19, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    I tell my resume clients to cite “salary range” during the interview. It never appears on the resume or cover letter. You can go to specific websites ( to find the salary range for your position. Be sure to factor in geography – a job in NY will pay more than one in Milwaukee, but the cost of living is higher.

  5. Michael Cooper on September 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm

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