Some job advertisements ask you to include your desired salary, and if they ask for this, it usually means that you can’t avoid doing so. Listing salary requirements is always tricky because it’s hard to “guess” what the employer will think about your preference. Asking for too much can rule out your chances right away because you might appear unrealistic, but asking for too little can signal a red flag and tell the hiring manager that you don’t value your skills and experience. So the question is – what do you say?
My advice is to always include a range because you give yourself a little bit of breathing room. A range not only eliminates you from this potential scrutiny, but it could also tell the hiring manager that you need a little more information before you give them a definite answer. In other words, you leave yourself some options, and you also put yourself in a good position to negotiate. Chances are that full details of the job haven’t already been provided, so if you make it to the interview and hear more about the job’s requirements, you can then argue why you are qualified to receive the higher end of your salary range.
So how do you determine this range? Try to search for similar positions and what they offer in terms of salary. Look up job search websites and try to ballpark a range that most of the positions fit into, and then use this range when you’re writing your cover letter. The range you include is entirely dependent on what you find, but I would probably suggest not making the range any larger than $10,000 for most positions – it may be too general otherwise.
All in all, it’s always best to keep your options open.