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Old 06.09.2011, 12:34
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Quick, perhaps dumb, but hopefully not too annoying, question

When an employer advertising a vacancy specifically requests that one include salary expectations in a cover letter, what is a graceful, or at least acceptable, way of stating this?

It's in English, so I'm not looking for any translation help. I suppose what I mean is that it strikes me as odd (or presumptuous, or something) to include something like, "I would expect to be paid ____" (where "____" = whatever the market will bear), in this cover letter which is otherwise quite carefully tonally modulated, so as to convey this picture of myself as generally reasonably attuned to the conventions of pleasantly efficient business correspondence. Yet they're asking for it, so how should I say it? How would you say it?

"I would require a monthly salary of ____ (... for this to be worth my while?)" ...

"I would ask for ..."?
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Old 06.09.2011, 12:43
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Re: Quick, perhaps dumb, but hopefully not too annoying, question

Something like

"My current salary is xxx. I would anticipate a similar salary"

or "My current salary is xxx. I would anticipate yyy to reflect the increased scope of this role"?




Or maybe "The current EF payometer (based on the "Is xxx enough" is 155k. I want at least that or I ain't getting out of bed."

Last edited by mirfield; 06.09.2011 at 12:54. Reason: Correct typo - it's a job application, innit?
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Old 06.09.2011, 12:48
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Re: Quick, perhaps dumb, but hopefully not too annoying, question

Not dumb at all - its tricky and a sensitive area.

I tend to put a range with a disclaimer rather than a specific number. Gives them and you, room to play around for negotiation.

For example: "My salary requirement is in the range of XX CHF - YY CHF but the requirement is negotiable based on the overall package and benefits."
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Old 06.09.2011, 12:53
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Re: Quick, perhaps dumb, but hopefully not too annoying, question

Maybe something like....."With regards to my salary expectations, my research indicates that similar positions in the yyyyy industry pay from xxxxxx to XXXXXX, and I would expect/be happy with/accept a basic salary/package in that range."


That will be 10% of your first months salary please!
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Old 06.09.2011, 12:56
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Re: Quick, perhaps dumb, but hopefully not too annoying, question

Thanks for soothing my self-consciousness. I like your idea of stating a range, but how wide a range would you think is permissible? I imagine that at some point, if you present too wide a range, you don't seem very serious. 1,000 chf monthly window?
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Old 06.09.2011, 13:15
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Re: Quick, perhaps dumb, but hopefully not too annoying, question

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Thanks for soothing my self-consciousness. I like your idea of stating a range, but how wide a range would you think is permissible? I imagine that at some point, if you present too wide a range, you don't seem very serious. 1,000 chf monthly window?

You'll be asking us to go to the interview for you next

Keep the range within whatever you find acceptable for your expectations. eg. 120,000 - 135,000 isn't too broad in my opinion.
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Old 06.09.2011, 13:16
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Re: Quick, perhaps dumb, but hopefully not too annoying, question

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1,000 chf monthly window?
From what outplacement specialists have told me, you should always quote an annual gross figure, not monthly.

More generally on this question... it's unrealistic for companies to expect anything more than a wide range if they are asking for a figure before you have been interviewed, found out details of exactly what the job is, what your responsibilities will be (how many people reporting to you, how much budget will you be answerable for, etc) whether they pay health insurance or what other side benefits there may be.

Personally I would be honest about this and, at least at first, say that you need more information before you can give a figure. An intelligent employer will appreciate your honesty.
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Old 06.09.2011, 13:22
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Re: Quick, perhaps dumb, but hopefully not too annoying, question

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Thanks for soothing my self-consciousness. I like your idea of stating a range, but how wide a range would you think is permissible? I imagine that at some point, if you present too wide a range, you don't seem very serious. 1,000 chf monthly window?
It really depends on alot of factors. Are you taking a step up on the ladder with regards to position and seniority?

Its a combination of what your peers in the industry are getting, and the level of experience. For example, back in my industry, the salary range for Account Directors could be anything from X - Y per month (Y for the more senior ones). As it was a step up for me, I simply quoted X - X+1000 X 12 months (as the salary jump from my then current level to that new level already is very healthy), with the disclaimer that I am open to negotiation.

However if its a lateral move, 10-15% increase from your current salary was healthy and reasonable according to industry standards then.

I am not familiar with how the Swiss market works. It was all back home. Best to do some research on what your peers are getting here and get some insights on what is a reasonable increase with a new job

Good luck!!
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Old 06.09.2011, 13:28
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Re: Quick, perhaps dumb, but hopefully not too annoying, question

When I started applying for jobs in Switzerland I did not answer this question, but stated that I had only been in the country for X months and did not know what the expected compensation for such a position in Switzerland would be. I would be happy to discuss this in interview.
They offered more than I would have asked as I was very keen to get working. After their first offer I was able to raise that as well.
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Old 06.09.2011, 15:15
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Re: Quick, perhaps dumb, but hopefully not too annoying, question

And remember it's not just about the cash, think about the total package. Sometimes employers have a relatively narrow window for salary but can be more flexible on other areas that may be just as valuable to you. As part of the outplacement support at my last job there was a course on negotiating job offers and it was surprising he number of areas that you can consider to negotiate on. That doesn't mean that you negotiate on all of them, but you choose a few areas that are important to you and sometimes you can catch them off guard.
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Old 06.09.2011, 16:40
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Re: Quick, perhaps dumb, but hopefully not too annoying, question

Being as the Swiss don't discuss salaries - wouldn't it better to pitch it something like.

"Salary expectation: I am seeking a salary and benefit package in line with market rates."
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Old 06.09.2011, 22:47
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Re: Quick, perhaps dumb, but hopefully not too annoying, question

Another approach would be to clearly state your current salary, and let them do the work and see how much of a premium they want to pay you. Its arguably a better negotiating tactic which makes them "declare" first. I wouldn't worry too much about the wording of how much more as it could sound awkward...
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