How to Write Salary Expectations (Plus Factors and Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 20, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When applying for a new job, discussing salary expectations can be challenging. Providing an adequate salary expectation that reflects your abilities may impress hiring managers and help you secure a job interview. Understanding how to write salary expectations can help you communicate your value to potential employers. In this article, we discuss what it is, show you how to write it, list factors that affect it, highlight reasons to include it, and offer an example.

What are salary expectations?

Learning how to write salary expectations involves understanding what an expected salary is. An expected salary is the amount of money that you would like to earn in your new role. Your expected salary can be based on your previous earnings, experience, and the market rate for similar positions. A prospective employer may request this compensation before offering you a job.

Related: How to Answer "What Are Your Salary Expectations?" and Related Questions

How to write salary expectations

When discussing your expected salary with a potential employer, be honest about your expectations to avoid misunderstandings. Here's how to include these expectations:

1. Research the average salary for your position

You can research to discover fair wages for your industry and position. Looking for what other people in your industry earn during your research can help you determine a reasonable range for your salary expectations. You might also search for salary information related to your area and level of expertise or determine the value of your experience and expertise by using an online salary calculator.

2. State your salary is negotiable

Since jobs also include compensation packages and benefits, you can tell a potential employer your expected salary is negotiable based on these factors. You can also request information about opportunities for advancement, which can affect your salary expectations. Stating that your salary is negotiable can help employers understand that your salary requirements may depend on the benefits they offer.

Related: Top Negotiation Skills You Should Possess

3. Give a range

Rather than providing a single figure, you can let an employer know your expected salary is flexible by offering a salary range, such as $35,000 to $45,000. Salaries within a range often differ by $5,000 to $10,000. Providing a large range can help increase your chances of requesting a salary within your potential employer's budget. Consider including your ideal salary in the middle when creating your salary range.

Related: Salary Range: Definition and When It's Used or Determined

4. Personalize your expectations

Since your salary expectations may change based on the position you're applying for, consider changing your salary expectations for each company. For example, if you're applying to large and small companies, you can request a higher salary from large companies with a larger budget. You can also consider the type of position you're applying for and the job location when updating your salary expectations.

5. Keep it short

When communicating your salary expectations, it's helpful to keep it brief. Your resume's primary focus can be to share your experience, qualifications, and interest in the position. Consider including your salary expectations in a section at the end of your resume. If your prospective employer has questions about your salary expectations, consider answering them at or after an interview.

6. Keep your expectations realistic

Be honest when sharing your expected salary. If you inflate your salary expectations, employers may think you're overqualified or not a good fit for the position. If you state a salary, that's too low, employers may think you're underqualified. Choosing a salary that aligns with your experience, qualifications, and the average salary for the position is important.

Factors influencing your salary expectations

Some factors influencing your salary expectations may include:

Cost of living in your area

The cost of living in your area can play a role in the salary you request. In places with a high cost of living, you may expect to earn more money to maintain your standard of living. For example, if you live in an expensive city, you can expect a higher salary than someone who lives in a less expensive area.

Education level

Education is often a factor employers consider when determining salary. Potential employers may consider candidates with master's degrees more valuable than those with bachelor's. Salary expectations can also vary based on the type of degree you hold.

Experience

Your experience is often the most significant factor influencing your salary expectations. The more experience you have, the more you can expect to earn. For instance, if you have ten years of experience in a particular field, you may expect to earn a higher salary than someone with five years of experience.

Related: What Is the Average Canadian Salary By Age Group?

Skill

Skills and abilities are important factors in determining what salary to expect. You can command a higher salary if you have a unique skill set or experience in a high-demand field. For example, if you're a web developer with expertise in a particular coding language, you may earn a higher salary than someone without that experience or skill set.

Related: What Is a Skill Gap? (With Importance and How to Analyze)

Industry and company

The industry you work in and the type of company you work for can also influence your salary expectations. For example, if you work in the tech industry, you may expect to earn a higher salary than someone who works in the retail sector. If you work for a large company, you may also make more than someone who works for a small company due to the budget size.

Why include your salary expectations?

There are many reasons to include your salary expectations on your resume, cover letter, or job application. Some reasons include:

Saves time

Including your salary expectations can save you and the employer time as they can immediately see if you're in the suitable salary range for the position. It also eliminates the need for communication about salary and benefits, which can be time-consuming. You can also avoid difficult conversations if you're not in agreement.

Related: Top Online Time Management Courses (With Essential Skills)

Displays confidence

Including your salary expectations shows you're confident in your skills and experience. It also shows that you know your worth and don't mind sharing that information upfront. You can also use it as an opportunity to show your negotiation skills.

Shows you're a good fit

Including your salary expectations shows that you've done your research and you're a good fit for the position. It can show that you're serious about the job. It may also show that you're flexible and open to negotiation, which employers often appreciate.

Allows you to be in control

When you include your salary expectations, it allows you to be more in control of the situation. You can set the tone for the conversation, and you can be the one who starts the negotiation. Doing so can put you in a better position to get your desired salary.

Makes you appear more professional

Including your salary expectations on your resume or cover letter can make you appear more professional and organized. It shows that you've researched and know what you're worth. It can also make you appear more confident, which is always a plus in the eyes of employers.

Related: What Is a Good Salary in Canada for You? (Definition and Factors)

Resume template with salary expectations

Here's a resume template you can use:

[First name] [Last name], [Degree or certification if applicable]
[Phone number] | [E-mail address] | [City], [Province or territory]

Professional Summary

[Two to three sentences that highlight years of experience, relevant skills, education or certifications, and achievements as a professional].

Experience

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City], [Province or territory]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome, or quantified results

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City], [Province or territory]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome, or quantified results

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

Skills

[Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]

Education

[Degree and major], [Name of school or university]

[Certification name], [Host organization] - [Year completed or expiration date]

Expected salary

  • [preferred salary range]

Example of writing expected salary on a resume

Here's an example of a resume with an expected salary:

Jane Flores

437-627-4447 | Jane.flores@email.com | Toronto, ON

Professional Summary

Experienced copywriter with a background in writing clear copy. Easily adaptable to different brand voices and styles thanks to strong attention to detail.

Experience

Content writer | May 2015-Current
GreatMade Media | Toronto, ON

  • write blog posts with straightforward copy that's free of errors

  • send out a weekly newsletter with updates about the company

  • research topics and find statistics to ensure accurate writing

  • interview subjects for articles to get quotes and become more knowledgeable on subjects

  • collaborate with the marketing team to provide copy that attracts readers and aligns with the company brand

Copywriter | May 2012-April 2015
Traffic Consulting | Toronto, Ontario

  • prepared copy for the company's website, social media accounts, and newsletters

  • proofread copy to correct grammatical errors and factual errors

  • used SEO practices to maximize the company's reach and increase brand exposure online

Skills

Attention to detail | Organization | Writing | Collaboration | Researching

Education

Bachelor's in Communications, University of Mississauga

Expected salary

  • between $42,000 and $47,000 annually

  • negotiable based on the company's compensation package


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