Have you ever come across a job advertisement that asks you to disclose your salary expectations before you have even had a chance to interview for the role? How in hell can you be expected to know what you are worth before you’ve had an opportunity to learn more about the position, the company, and its expectations?

If you have found yourself in this position, you are not alone. It is becoming increasingly common for hiring managers to filter applicants and quickly narrow the candidate pool to those who fit within their budget, rather than wasting time and resources on candidates who might be outside their price range. Many job seekers find this question uncomfortable, intrusive, and almost unfair. However, it is important to note that (most) employers don’t have malicious intent and may not be aware of the additional stress and potential negative consequences of asking for this information so early in the hiring process.

RecruitableHub clients often ask us how best to respond to this request in their cover letter, so here are our top tips for job seekers to articulate their worth and pave the way to negotiate a fair and equitable salary throughout the recruitment process.

Research: When addressing salary expectations in your cover letter, it is vital to strike the right balance between being realistic and not selling yourself short. To do this, research the average salary or salary range for the position you are applying for, which will help you land on a reasonable range and a competitive figure.

Find out the best way to ‘Research Salary Expectations for the Job You Are Applying For’.

Provide a range: Instead of a specific number, provide a range you would be willing to consider.

“I am excited about the opportunity to join your team and contribute my skills to the company’s success. Based on my research, previous experience, and the requirements of the role, I believe a salary in the range of $X to $Y would be appropriate; however, I am flexible and interested in finding the right opportunity to grow and develop my career within the right company, so would hate to make this process about the money alone.”

Highlight your value: Make sure you highlight what you will bring to the table before you name your price. Mention the skills, experience, qualifications, and personal attributes you know will benefit the company based on what they are asking for in the job advertisement. By emphasising your value, you will at least justify why you are asking for a specific package or range.

“In terms of salary expectation, I am flexible and open to discussing a fair package that aligns with the company’s values and goals and the experience I am bringing to the table as per my resume attached.”

Be vague: If you really don’t feel comfortable discussing salary expectations in your cover letter, or if you haven’t had time to research properly before the job closing date, be vague and call their bluff. That way, you can buy a bit more time to do some groundwork before the interview but still sound like a confident and competent applicant.

”As an experienced [job title], I understand the market rate for this role and am open to discussing salary and benefits that align with industry standards during an interview. I am willing to negotiate based on the specific needs of the company and this opportunity to contribute my skills and experience to your team.”

Be blunt: If you know what you are worth and what you need to earn as a minimum, you may as well call a spade a spade.

“I am currently earning a salary of $X in my current position (excluding superannuation), and I am looking to earn the same amount, if not more, to move to a new position. 

I hope that this information is helpful and not a hindrance at this stage of the hiring process, as I understand that salary is just one aspect of compensation, and I am open to discussing other benefits if this expectation is not within your budget, but you do feel that I am a strong candidate and could provide value to your team.”


End on a positive note: Express your excitement and enthusiasm for the opportunity and willingness to negotiate the salary and benefits if you are successful. Ironically, if the hiring manager thinks you are just about the money, you will likely not progress to the interview stage.


“While I am flexible in terms of salary, I am seeking a package in the range of $X to $Y. I am, however, open to negotiation, as I am more interested in finding the right opportunity to utilise my skills and experience and work with a company that does work that matters. I am confident I can bring value to your team, and I look forward to discussing this opportunity with you during an interview.”


We strongly recommend that you consider what you want or need to earn and carefully balance your passions and purpose, opportunities for career growth and progression, and your salary expectations against your personal lifestyle circumstances and needs. Petrol, travel, and rent (even lettuce, for goodness sake) are expensive at the moment, but selling your soul to work for a fortnightly paycheck can be equally demoralising.


If you are looking for a new role and want to write a resume and cover letter highlighting your skills and experience and dramatically increase your likelihood of getting an interview, check out www.recruitablehub.com


Meg Salter
Co-Founder & Co-CEO
[email protected]
Linkedin: @meg-salter
Kate Bartlett
Co-Founder & Co-CEO
[email protected]
Linkedin: @bartlettkate
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