What To Put For Desired Salary Internship

Internships are almost like a stepping stone between education and your dream profession.

They allow young professionals to get the experience needed to enter the world of work, and give them a taste of what their dream profession will be like. For this reason, a lot of young people apply for internships during their lifetime. 

The internship application process is made up of a number of stages. Almost always, the first stage will be submitting an application.

A lot of internships will be unpaid, but some companies choose to pay their applicants if they are successful. The companies that do this usually ask for your desired salary on the application form. 

This question is always a tricky one to answer. You don’t want to put a figure that is too high, in case you offend the company. Likewise, you don’t want to sell yourself short by putting a salary that is too low. So, how much is the right amount?

In this guide, we’ll take a look at what you should put as your desired salary when you apply for an internship. So, if you want to find out, keep on reading. 

What Is A Desired Salary?

First things first, let’s take a look at what a desired salary is. As the name suggests, a desired salary is a salary that you would like to earn for the position that you are applying for.

To a lot of people, the thought of listing their desired salary might seem a little strange. After all, you usually apply for jobs that you already know the salary for. 

While it might seem like a short and simple question on an application form, the desired salary question is actually very important. The figure that you put in this box can really tell the company a lot about your personality, and that is why it is very critical to get the figure right.

If you put an unrealistic amount, then this could give the company a bad impression of you. Likewise, if you put a figure that is too low, the company might think that you don’t want the position bad enough. 

Some companies will give a range of what you could get paid for that position. Other companies will leave the figure that you give entirely up to you. So, what is a suitable desired salary for an internship? Let’s take a look. 

What To Put For Desired Salary Internship

It might be tempting to skip over this question because it is often a tricky question to answer, but it is very important that you put something in the box. So, what should you put for your desired salary for an internship that you are applying for?

Well, you have two options for this. You can either put a figure, or you can put a word such as ‘negotiable’ or ‘competitive’. Let’s take a look at how you might decide on which option is best for you. 

If you decide to put an actual figure in the box, then it is very important that you do your research to ensure that the figure is acceptable. In order to do this, you should use the internet to compare the salaries that people in your job role usually get paid.

You can use this to get an average figure, which can then be used to answer this question. 

Most salaries for the position that you are filling will be yearly. Of course, most internships do not run for an entire year, instead they only run for a set number of weeks. However, you should still put the annual figure in the box, for example $20,000 per annum.

The company will then prorate this to calculate how much you would earn of this salary during the set number of weeks that you are working with them. 

Alternatively, you could put down ‘negotiable’ or ‘competitive’. This is a much quicker and easier way of answering this question, without offending the company.

This answer is ideal if you are applying for multiple internships because you will be able to complete the applications quickly. You will then only have to research potential salaries if you move onto the next stage of the application process. 

However, some online application forms will not allow you to type a word in this box. Instead, they will only let you use numerical values in the answer box.

If this is the case, then you should either put ‘000’ or ‘999’ as the answer. This is standard practice when you do not want to give a specific figure, and the company will understand that this means that you are willing to negotiate.

If you proceed to the next stage of the application process, then you will typically negotiate salaries during your interview.

Should You Put A Wide Range?

However, depending on who you discuss desired salaries with, you might find that it is recommended that you add a range, rather than a specific figure.

So, for example, you might put $20-25,000 instead of putting $22,500. Some people recommend that you do this as it means you are giving a figure, but also showing that you are open to negotiation. 

A wide range is often a good idea because it means that the company has the final say, and you will not seem too pushy.

But, you should bear in mind that this route frequently leads to you getting paid a figure towards the bottom end of that scale. So, you should never make the range too wide. 

Ideally, to calculate your range, you should look at salaries for that position in other companies. This will give you a top barrier, and a low barrier.

You can then use this as your range. But remember, don’t put the bottom figure too low. Ensure that the lowest figure that you give is one that you will be comfortable earning. 


In short, a desired salary is the amount that you ideally wish to earn during your internship. A lot of companies have started to include this in application forms because it gives them a good idea of the type of person who is applying to work with them. 

The answer that you give is entirely up to you. But, we would recommend either using an average salary for this position (you can find this out by researching online), or simply putting ‘negotiable’.

This allows you to discuss the salary in more depth if you proceed to the interview stage of the application process. 


Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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