The rule of thumb is DO NOT include your salary expectation in the cover letter unless you have specifically been asked to do so by the recruiter.
Most recruiters would want to know your salary expectation especially when they come across your professional profile on the job boards or LinkedIn. This helps them know whether they can consider you for some of their client available roles.
In this particular case, then it is okay to reveal your salary expectations early, in order to save time.
If you have not been asked to, restrict your cover letter content to what is permissible professionally.
Also read>>>How to Write a Knockout Career Summary
Why Shouldn’t I?
Revealing your salary expectation in the cover letter without being asked so, makes you come across as either a very desperate job seeker or one who makes decisions without thinking.
The two attributes whether real or perceived are so damaging to your personal brand and overall to your job hunting pursuit.
There is also a high likelihood of either understating or overstating your salary figures when you go ahead and mention it in your cover letter.
In the first instance, the company will save a lot of money, particularly if you have the skills that the employer is looking for. And if you secure the job, you will end up feeling short-changed in the long run.
In the latter, you may potentially spoil your chances of being called for an interview if the figure is too high, even if you were hoping and willing to negotiate.
However in an instance where you strongly feel you must include your salary expectation in the cover letter, then you must be tactful to avoid fencing yourself into a particular unfavorable figure.
One super strategy to get around this is by specifying a range rather than one specific figure.
You’ll have to do some research and provide a range, beginning on the low end and ending on the high end.
This creates lots of positives.
The employer will find you are within their “willing to pay” range and it also creates lots of room for negotiation in between the specified range.
When specifying the range never forget to mention that you are willing to negotiate.
The one disastrous thing you should avoid doing then is specifying a salary range that is not in tandem with the industry paying practice. This results from failure to do some good research and could potentially dampen all your hopes of being called for an interview
There Are No Guarantees
Providing your salary requirement is not a guarantee in itself of anything, let alone a hiring decision, so don’t ask for a figure that is obviously higher than the industry standard.
However, the one danger of asking for a very low figure is that you will portray yourself as an immature professional with little sense of commercial awareness besides coming across as one not having good negotiating skills.
All job vacancies advertised always have a predetermined salary range attached to them and asking candidates to specify them is really to find out whether suitable candidates fall within the employers range (willingness and ability to pay).
The final salary depends on how much a particular employer is willing to invest in you, your history and the envisaged value that you will bring to the company. Nonetheless, the final figure still rests within a predetermined range, excluding certain unique cases where you can strongly justify your case.
In general, avoid mentioning the salary requirement in your cover letter but if asked to, then be careful to avoid circling the whole cover letter around the salary expectation.
One thing that you should remember when faced with the “salary requirement question” is that companies or recruiters do expect you to negotiate. So work on your negotiations skills and don’t disappoint them.