• Look at the job title and description of qualifications/requirements. First, do you meet all of the requirements they are asking for? Even if you only have a portion of the qualifications listed in the job description, as long as you have the majority of them, you should still apply for the job.
• Research similar positions that are out there and see what salary ranges are being offered. There are hundreds of job sites (glassdoor.com is a good one) on the internet that post salary ranges for specific positions, and some will even show what those positions make in different geographic areas. If you are able to get compensation information, that would help you as well.
• What are you making at your current job? If you are making $55,000 per year now, it wouldn’t look good to demand $85,000 for the same type of position (unless the new position has more requirements and/or is a managerial role). Yes, you will want to up the ante from what you are making, but you still need to be realistic.
• If the salary range is not listed on the job posting, contact the employer and ask what the range is. If you have a lot of experience, put your salary requirements toward the top of the range. If you are basically new to the field or only have a few years of experience, go mid-range or a little lower. You can always move up the scale once you get your foot in the door and show them what you can do.
• Never list your salary requirements at the beginning of your cover letter! Draw them in with your qualifications and achievements, then end with your salary requirements.
• Once you have done all of your research and have established the salary requirements you’re going to ask for, list those requirements, as well as the compensation package in your current position toward the bottom of your cover letter. You can even let them know that you are willing to negotiate based on your qualifications, benefit structure, job responsibilities, and advancement opportunities.
If you do land an interview, revisit your facts and research and be prepared to discuss your salary requirements during the interview. While communicating your salary requirements may seem awkward at first, presenting your information in a professional manner based on facts and research will impress the employer and hopefully get you the job you are trying for.