How to Provide Your Desired Salary (With Tips and Examples)

Many job candidates dread this question about salary requirements. There’s the worry that, if you lowball a figure, you’re leaving money on the table. But if you give a number that’s too high, you might price yourself out of consideration for the role. No matter where you are in your career, that’s a tough calculation.

Desired salary is simply the amount of money you’d like to make at your new job. It’s also the realistic amount of money you expect to make at your new job based on your level of skill and experience. (Otherwise, we’d probably all have a desired salary of $10 million.)


How to determine your desired salary

Follow these steps to figure out the best salary request for your desired job:

1. Research average salaries for your occupation

Perform online research to see what others are making with this job title. You will probably find a broad range depending on location, experience and education. This gives you a very loose basis of what you can list as your desired salary.

2. Consider your cost of living

The average salary for a job varies by location. If youre relocating for your new position, its important to understand how much it will cost for you to maintain the same standard of living in a new city. In some places, housing, gas, groceries and utilities are significantly cheaper. If this is the case, you may accept a salary thats lower than your previous job.

In other cases, you may find that the cost of living is notably higher in your new location. In this case, you will want to request a higher salary simply to maintain the same lifestyle. If you want to increase the funds that are available after your standard living expenses, you need to request an even higher salary.

3. Factor in experience and education

Experience and education are two of the biggest determining factors when considering salary. If youre seeking an above-average salary, you should also have above-average skills and expertise. If you have a long history of working in a particular field, you can ask for a higher salary than if youre an entry-level employee.

What is desired salary?

Desired salary is the compensation that you would like to receive for a new job. Its common to be unsure what to put for the desired salary as youre completing job applications and attending interviews. If you select a number thats too low, your employer may eagerly accept the suggestion and pay you less than youre worth. If you quote a desired salary thats too high, you could risk losing the job opportunity.

Its important to have a smart strategy for approaching the matter of your desired salary so you can quote a number thats likely to get you fair compensation for the job.

How to answer “What is your desired salary?” in interviews

Potential employers will often ask what your desired salary is in an interview. This is the best place to approach this question because you have the flexibility to discuss the topic fully in person. Follow these steps to address this query:

1. Wait until youre ready

If the hiring manager asks about your desired salary before you have a full grasp of the position, you can delay your response. You may say, “Id like to learn more about what this position entails before I discuss my desired salary.

2. Support your answer with research and evidence

Research the industry before your interview so you can provide an answer thats backed by evidence. If you want a salary of $90,000, you should have a solid argument for why youre worth that amount. Know what the average salary is for your occupation, the industry and the local area.

3. Indicate when negotiation is acceptable

Let your employer know if youre willing to negotiate your salary. Its usually best to open the discussion to negotiations. However, if youve stated your lowest acceptable salary, you should confidently stand by it.

4. Consider the full benefits package

If the hiring manager counters with a lower salary, inquire about the benefits. Your health insurance, stock options, pension and other benefits add real monetary value to the position.

5. Decline unacceptable offers

Know the lowest salary you can accept and be prepared to respectfully decline the offer if the employer cannot meet your needs. Its better to keep looking for the right fit than to take a job that doesnt pay you enough to comfortably maintain your lifestyle.

How to answer “What is your desired salary?”

If a job application asks for your desired salary, you may have to provide this information before the interview. Follow these steps to handle a request for your desired salary within the application process:

1. Follow the hiring companys directions closely

Dont provide your desired salary in your cover letter or on your resume unless specifically asked to do so. Its best to withhold this information until you get a starting offer from the company so you dont price yourself too low.

If the job posting asks that you include desired salary on your resume, you can satisfy the requirement without giving a concrete number by including a note that says, “Salary is negotiable and can be discussed during the interview.” If youre filling out an online application that you cannot submit without filling in this box, continue with the following steps.

2. Select an appropriate range

Use the strategy outlined above to determine what an appropriate salary range is for your field, taking the local cost of living and your personal experience and knowledge into consideration.

3. Indicate that your salary is negotiable when possible

Some online application forms include a checkbox that allows you to indicate whether your salary is negotiable. Check this if youre given the option. If not, you may be able to state that the salary is negotiable at the end of the application if theres a place for notes. This could help you get further consideration from employers.

Example responses

There are many ways to answer the question of your desired salary. Consider some of these responses.

Responding with a request for a pay increase

“My current salary is $60,000, which is the maximum compensation that my employer allows for this position. I have recently completed an MBA which gives me the skill and expertise necessary to take on the more advanced position that I am now applying for. As this job has a greater number of responsibilities, Im seeking a 10% increase in my salary and asking for $70,000.”

Responding with a desired salary based on relocation

“Based on my research, the average salary for an RN in the Chicago area is $65,000 to $85,000. I have 10 years of experience as an RN and recently obtained Certified Additions Registered Nurse-Advanced Practice certification. I believe this qualifies me for a higher salary within this range, and request compensation of $80,000 to $85,000.”

Responding when youre unsure of your desired salary

“I dont have a specific number in mind yet. Im focused on finding a position thats a good fit for my skills and career goals. Once Ive done that, Im willing to consider the salary offer that you feel is fair.”

Responding in a cover letter to your desired salary in an online application

“On the application, I selected a salary range of $40,000 to $50,000. I believe this is appropriate for my skills and experience level. I am open to negotiation regarding the salary and benefits for this position and look forward to discussing this with you further.”

Tips for discussing your desired salary

These tips can help you comfortably discuss your salary:


What should I put as my desired salary?

What to Put for Desired Salary on Job Applications. The best way to answer desired salary or salary expectations on a job application is to leave the field blank or write ‘Negotiable’ rather than providing a number. If the application won’t accept non-numerical text, then enter “999,” or “000”.

What is your salary expectation answer?

How to Answer, ‘What’s Your Expected Salary?’
  1. Research the market and salary trends. …
  2. Consider giving a salary range, not a number. …
  3. Diplomatically turn the question around. …
  4. Now it’s time to give a number, not a range. …
  5. Always be truthful. …
  6. What to do after you’ve settled on salary.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *