You want a raise and feel that you deserve one. What's the best way to get an increase in your pay? If you can make a strong case for a salary increase, it may help to put a formal request in writing.
Asking for a raise is not only difficult, it can be dangerous if you say the wrong thing. A well-phrased request, on the other hand, can help you get the increase you would like. Your letter can help support your argument while keeping you from tripping over your words in person.
It can also be easier to make the request in writing, compared to having a conversation about your compensation.
A letter is also a record documenting the request should it be denied now but reconsidered in the future. It also removes any question of your boss taking the request seriously.
Who to Ask for a Salary Increase
A salary increase request should be addressed to the person who manages your raises and bonuses. That may be your supervisor, manager, or the head of your department.
It is generally not a good idea to go above the person who makes salary decisions for your team. If you don’t trust your direct manager, the letter will help keep the process professional.
When to Ask for a Salary Increase
Before you send a letter asking for a salary increase, make sure the timing is right. For example, if you know the company is doing well, your boss is pleased with your work, and sufficient time has elapsed (at least a year or more, depending on company culture) since your last salary raise, or your annual review is coming up, then all signs point to go.
At some companies, raises are discussed during year-end reviews or given out around the close of the fiscal year. If that's the case at your company, aim to start the conversation in advance of these dates.
Timing-wise, it's also helpful to ask for a raise shortly after completing a big project or task successfully.
That's especially true if it's something that earned you praise or increased your visibility in the company.
When Not to Ask for a Pay Raise
If there have been recent layoffs or financial troubles in the company or if regular salary raises are part of an annual performance review that is months away, this may not be the right time to make your case for an unplanned increase.
Here are some of the reasons why you may not get the salary increase you're seeking.
What to Include in the Letter
Before you start writing, gather resources that will help you justify a raise in salary:
- Think back over your history with the company and create a list of accomplishments since your last salary increase, paying close attention to those that may have improved the business’s bottom line.
- If you have received awards or accolades within the company, you may want to mention them within the letter.
If you believe you are being paid less than you are objectively worth, it’s important to include examples. Do some research on pay rates for your job or similar jobs in your industry through salary calculators available on websites like Payscale.com, Glassdoor.com or Salary.com.
What Not to Include in the Letter
Avoid complaining or victimization, particularly if the company has been going through rough times. Assume that things are tough all around, but explain why your work stands out.
Do not include any personal insights about the salaries of coworkers. Focus instead on your value in your role and your value to the company.
Your time at the company is not a justification for a raise, nor are your personal financial circumstances. Stay away from these unpersuasive arguments.
Sample Salary Increase Request Letter
If you think the time is right, below is a sample salary increase request letter that can be used as a guideline when you write your own customized letter requesting a raise.
The letter should be formatted and written in a formal way. The example letter below is intended to be sent in hard-copy form. If it is being emailed, you can remove the date and the address for yourself and the employer, and begin the letter with the greeting.
Download the salary increase letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) to use as a starting point for your own letter.
Sample Salary Increase Request Letter (Text Version)
95 Park Lane
Anderson, CT 00880
May 26, 2020
23456 Broad Street
Stamford, CT 00834
[use above for hard-copy letter only]
Dear Mr. Boss,
I am writing to formally request a review of my current salary. As an Account Executive with 5 years at Acme Corporation, I have always been ready and able when asked to take on additional work and new job responsibilities. I believe a review of my track record with the company, my recent achievements, along with industry average salaries, will demonstrate justification for an increase of at least 10% in my annual pay.
My role has evolved since starting with Acme Corporation. Added duties now include staff management, budget decisions, and project management. In the past year, I have distinguished myself with the following accomplishments:
- I improved efficiencies in the accounts payable system, saving the company $50,000 in annual revenue.
- I managed the successful launch of our new product, helping to realize $100,000 in quarterly sales.
- I’ve strived for excellence, continued adding value to the company, and never missed a deadline.
- Peer reviews indicate that my colleagues appreciate my management style and I am a valuable member of the team.
Further, the average annual salary for my position is $65,000, according to data from Payscale.com. This is more than 12% higher than my current salary of $58,000. A 10% raise in salary is would put my compensation in line with industry and regional expectations for the work.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I am willing to work with you to accommodate my request along with what is best for the company. If you have another amount in mind or a plan to increase my salary in the future, I am open to negotiation.
Signature [for hard copy letter]
How to Get the Raise You Requested
BE AWARE OF TIMING: Time your request for when you have the optimal chance of getting a positive response.
PREPARE YOUR REQUEST: Take the time to research what you're worth in the job market so you can show your manager why you should be considered for a raise.
HAVE A DISCUSSION: If possible, ask for a meeting to discuss your letter and your compensation. It's easier to have an in-person discussion than it is to go back and forth via email.