Should I put my expected salary in my CV?

By Robert Half on 9 June 2023
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes

When job hunting, your salary can be a difficult and delicate subject to discuss.

Some candidates for example may include their expected salary in their CV. The intention being that this can ensure salary expectations are clear from the very start, helping to avoid wasting anyone’s time, and can avoid disappointment for you later in the hiring process.

It’s fair that you may want to be upfront with hiring managers, to avoid wasting your time, and theirs when it comes to remuneration, but including your expected salary in your resume is not standard procedure, and an action that should be avoided.

Related: How to answer 'What are your salary expectations?'

7 reasons to not include your expected salary in your resume

If you’ve read any articles on ‘what not to include in a resume’, you’ve likely noticed that a common inclusion is ‘salary’.

So why is it often advised that you don’t include your expected salary in your CV? Here are seven reasons to consider:

1. It can make hiring managers question your motives

By including your expected salary in your CV, it may look like you are too heavily focused on money, rather than the job opportunity itself.

2. It can detract from your skills and experience

The purpose of your CV is to present your professional skills and experience to the hiring manager. Including your salary expectations at this early stage is unnecessary and could even detract hiring managers from absorbing important information about you.

3. You may be filtered out of the process earlier

Hiring managers are looking for ways to quickly narrow down their stack of CVs. If you include your salary expectations in your CV and it doesn’t match what the business is prepared to pay, you may instantly be excluded from the hiring process, before you’ve been given the chance to demonstrate your passion for the role.

4. You can appear less experienced

If you provide your salary expectations in your CV and it’s too low, you may appear less experienced than you are. This could result in you being removed from the process early.

5. You may get a lower salary offer

By making the first move and putting your expected salary in your CV, you may end up asking for a figure that is lower than what the business was prepared to pay. The business then has no reason to offer you the full amount they had budgeted.

6. It can reduce your opportunities to negotiate

Including your expected salary in your CV means that you’ve made the first move in terms of salary conversations, reducing your opportunity to negotiate. It’s often encouraged to wait until the hiring manager suggests the salary that they will be willing to pay first before you say what your expectations are.

7. It can reduce your chance of making a connection

During a job interview you will have the opportunity to meet the hiring manager, to build a positive connection, share your skills, highlight your experience and emphasise the added value you will bring to the business. You may find that if you’ve made a powerful impression, the business will be willing to meet your salary expectations and even go beyond their initial budget to secure you. Adding your expected salary in your CV though may get you removed from the recruitment process before you’ve had a chance to meet face-to-face.

Melissa Lau, director at Robert Half Hong Kong and specialised technology and financial services recruiter says "From my perspective, including salary expectations in a CV is not advisable. The primary purpose of a CV is to showcase your skills, goals, and provide a detailed overview of your work experience. If you mention your salary expectations too early, you run the risk of pricing yourself out of the job before even getting a chance to interview."

What should you do instead of including your expected salary in your CV?

Salary discussions should come much later in the recruitment process. But when is the right time to discuss salary?

It’s often advised that you wait until the end of your interview, or better still, after you have been provided with a job offer before you start discussing your salary package.

If you get asked about your salary expectations prior to attending an interview or being provided with a job offer, try to answer without giving away exact figures. You could simply explain that you would be willing to discuss salary once an offer is on the table, or when you’ve established whether the role is a good fit for you.

If you are asked for a figure, make sure it is clear to the hiring manager that your salary is negotiable based on your responsibilities and the complete job package on offer. This will ensure you provide a suitable answer, yet do not get ruled out of the process early.

Understanding when to discuss salary is important, but you must also ensure your expectations are realistic. For more information, download a free copy of Robert Half’s Salary Guide and try out Robert Half’s Salary Calculator.

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