Traditionally, asking for a pay raise is considered a face-to-face event, with an employee and a manager sitting down to hash things out.
However, an in-person conversation isn’t always the best way to go about initiating the request for an increase in your salary. While it should always be done respectfully, regardless of the method, at times a written letter can be the best way to make the case for a bump in your salary.
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Why Should I Ask for a Raise in Writing?
There are a few different reasons that requesting a pay raise in writing is a good option to consider.
- A written letter allows you to explain yourself. You probably have a few reasons behind your desire for a raise. Perhaps you’ve worked for years without an increase in your salary, you’ve taken on new responsibilities, or you completed a project with a particular success that is worthy of greater compensation. Whatever your reasons, a written letter allows you to spell them out in succinct detail.
- A written letter doesn’t evoke an immediate response. While meeting with your boss will likely give you a quicker answer, it may not be the response you’re looking for. A written letter gives your employer a chance to think things over and provide you with a thoughtful answer.
- A written letter is less confrontational. Salary negotiations can be uncomfortable for both parties involved. A written letter can ease the tension and remove the need for an initially awkward conversation to take place.
- A written letter provides documentation of the interaction. Whether your request is approved or denied, having written proof of your effort is helpful. If your manager green-lights the pay increase, they can file the letter with HR as documentation to accompany this stepping-stone in your career. If the request is denied, it can be useful to have a written record of your good-faith effort when salary negotiations are revisited in the future.
What Should I Include in My Raise Letter?
A formal business letter requesting a raise consists of more than a sentence or two casually asking for more money. Here are the essential elements that should be included.
You should always include any relevant accomplishments in your letter. Be as specific as possible; rather than simply saying, “I worked really hard in the last few months,” write something like, “From April to June I increased my productivity by 20%.” This will clearly make the case for why you deserve a raise.
If you go into your request simply asking for more money in any quantity, it won’t look professional. Conduct research using a salary calculator on a site like PayScale or Glassdoor and then use hard numbers to make a request for an exact percentage or dollar amount.
Remember that you’re writing a professional business letter. Take the time to carefully edit and proofread everything before you send it. A pay raise letter littered with errors looks unprofessional and indicates that you haven’t put much thought into your request.
It’s wise to maintain a cordial, professional tone as you compose your letter. Remember, you’re not giving your two weeks notice here. It’s important that you express your appreciation for the job you currently have and your desire to continue to work at this company in the future, regardless of the response you get.
Pay Raise Letter Samples
If you’re struggling to come up with how to format your letter, don’t worry. Below is a generic pay raise request letter template. Simply copy it into your own document and fill out the information, tailoring it to your own personal situation as you go.
[The date the letter is written.]
[Employer’s full name.]
[Name of company.]
Dear [employer’s first and last name],
I’ve greatly enjoyed my experience working at [name of company] over the course of the last [amount of time you’ve worked at the company]. During that time, I’ve had the opportunity to learn, grow, and become an integral part of the organization. I have been able to provide many valuable services during my time working here as well.
For instance, I recently [list a specific accomplishment or multiple accomplishments that are the primary reason behind your pay raise request].
While I’ve been happy to contribute to the company in such a meaningful way, I consider these achievements to have gone above and beyond the initial responsibilities that were discussed when we initially set my salary and job expectations.
With that in mind, I would like to meet to discuss an increase in my salary that is commensurate with my additional efforts and accomplishments. I am specifically requesting a [list the dollar amount or percentage of raise being asked for], as I believe this accurately reflects the current skills, productivity, and work performance that I am providing for the company.
I genuinely appreciate the opportunity to work at [name of company] and to be a part of your team, in particular. The work is rewarding and the environment is positive and encouraging.
Thank you for considering my request. I look forward to talking things over with you in person soon.
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