Cover Letters: Taking a Pay Cut

If you're OK with a pay cut, then say so and explain why.

by Donna Svei on August 12, 2013

A recent survey found that 68% of Americans would take a pay cut for more satisfying work and that almost 25% of workers would take a BIG pay cut. Even so, employers often balk at hiring people for less than they have been making because they fear they will leave when they find a better job.

But what if you’re really willing to make less? Then address the concern head on.

One of my clients is making a change to more rewarding work. The change will entail a big pay cut. I love the words she used to describe this in a recent cover letter to a hiring manager. Shared with her OK, here is the paragraph she used to address possible concerns about her pay:

I know that a move to [type of job] will mean a significant cut in pay for me, but I am now in a position where I don’t need to make as much money as a [current title] at [current company] makes. Rather, I’m looking to make the most of everything I’ve learned over the past X years by bringing it all together and applying it as a [title] in the [name] field.

Simple, direct, and honest. She shares that she can afford a pay cut and her motivation for taking the cut. As a recruiter, I find her explanation more than adequate.  Because of this, I wouldn’t consider pay a negative in recruiting her – as long as the new job fits the career change she wants to make.

Whether you’re making a voluntary or involuntary job change, if it clearly involves a pay cut, let recruiters and hiring managers know up front you’re OK with that and why you’re OK with that.

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at or call me at (208) 721-0131. 

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