How to Write a Letter Asking for a Raise
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How to ask for a raise.
- Do your salary research
- Pick the right time
- Make the request
- Express appreciation for the consideration
Sample template for a letter asking for a raise
Asking your employer for more money isn’t easy, even when you know you deserve it. But if you knocked it out of the park over the past year, took on more responsibilities or received a stellar performance review, you owe it to yourself to talk to your manager about a pay increase.
The good news is that salaries continue to trend upward in 2023, according to research for the Robert Half Salary Guide . Employers say they are willing to give financial incentives to retain top talent after a year of high turnover rates and talent shortages.
If you’re not sure how to ask for a salary increase, or if this is the first time your boss hears you want more money, then start taking notes to build your case.
It's a good idea to put your request in writing, whether it's an email or printed letter. Write down all of your accomplishments at work and highlight where you've met or exceeded expectations.
Follow these tips for how to write a letter asking for a raise, along with suggestions to help you develop confidence about the message you want to send.
1. Do your salary research
You’re not going to get very far if the amount you ask for is not in line with the realities of today’s job market. Completing your own comprehensive research will help you understand what a competitive wage is for someone in your position and geographic location. Consult the latest Robert Half Salary Guide, which breaks down starting pay ranges for hundreds of positions across numerous professional fields.
Researching the numbers will also demonstrate to your boss that your salary request is backed by real data versus your own appraisal.
2. Pick the right time
One of the first steps in knowing how to ask for a raIse is identifying the best time in your company’s cycle to have the discussion. Does your company have a policy of granting pay raises only during performance review periods? Check your employee handbook for guidelines.
Consider also whether your organization has had recent layoffs or a hiring freeze. If you bring up your pay when your company has just furloughed employees or is seeing reduced revenues, your appeal is likely to go nowhere fast, regardless of how amazing you are.
3. Make the request
When you’ve researched your salary range and chosen a good time to broach the subject, make the ask. Email your manager and explain that you’d like to connect to review your compensation. Outline your impact clearly and concisely. Prepare compelling bullet points that describe exactly how you’ve excelled in your role.
Don’t mention what your coworkers make or any personal reasons you might have for needing more money.
Next in the letter, ask to meet with your manager to discuss the salary you’re seeking. If this is the first time your boss hears you want more money, set the stage appropriately. You might consider a sentence or two in an email, such as this: Could we have a short discussion to review my salary or devote a few minutes to that topic during our next one-on-one meeting?
If you have a performance review coming up, it’s a good idea to ask ahead of time: Would it be OK if we discussed my compensation during my performance review?
If you have already expressed the desire for an increase, you should go ahead and circle back with specifics. Your email might include a line like this: We’ve discussed my wish for additional pay, and after some research, I’d like to request a salary increase of X percent.
4. Back it up
In a longer letter asking for a raise, explain how you landed on the salary figure you are requesting. Numbers are convincing, so use them in the descriptions of your accomplishments: money saved, revenue earned, services improved, responsibilities taken on.
Just as you did in your salary negotiations when you interviewed for the job, your request should reflect the value you bring to the role, goals you’ve met or exceeded, results you have delivered, and industry averages based on your job skills and years of experience. It’s easier to put nerves aside when you feel ready to answer hard questions about why you deserve an increase.
5. Express appreciation for the consideration
Remember to thank your manager for supporting you in your role and for considering your request.
After you hit send, be patient. Your manager may need to talk to a higher-up or HR before getting back to you. Those conversations and the resulting negotiations can take time.
Even if you don’t get what you’re looking for, thank your manager for allowing you to express yourself. Seek clarity on what would be required for a future salary increase, and set a time to check in again.
Negotiating is a process. Putting your request in writing is likely just the first step, but if you make the ask, it can pay dividends.
As my X-year anniversary gets close, I would like to request a review of my (job title) salary. During my time at (name of company), I have taken on additional responsibilities and have achieved success in several areas. I’ve made a brief list of just some of my accomplishments and responsibilities, which include the following:
- Taking the lead on …
- Meeting goals in …
- Improving efficiencies that led to a savings of $X for the company ...
- Achieving success in …
- Adding to my (skill level or education as it relates to the job) …
Aside from my X skills in this role, I have also demonstrated excellent X abilities and proficiency with X. The team can count on me for X.
Given the added value I have brought the company, I think it is fair to request a bump in pay. Based on the research in the Robert Half Salary Guide, I’ve found that the midpoint salary (or median national salary) for this position is $X for my experience level. Considering regional variances, an X percent raise would put my compensation closer to those salary benchmarks.
Thank you for your consideration. I would be happy to meet with you to discuss my request and the company's needs. Please let me know if you are available for a short meeting.
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How To Write A Salary Increase Letter (Ask For A Raise Examples)
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- Why Put a Salary Increase Request in Writing?
Who Should You Send Your Salary Increase Letter To
When to send a salary increase letter, what to include in a salary increase letter, sample salary increase letter, salary increase letter template, what not to include in a salary increase letter, pay increase letter faq, ask the experts.
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Summary. To write a salary increase letter, be specific about your reason for asking for a raise, what salary you’re asking for, and your justification for your request. Make sure you leave room for negotiation, say thank you , and send your letter at an appropriate time as well. Asking for a raise is never easy, even when you deserve one. It can be tricky to express why you should receive a salary increase, but putting the request in writing can help you avoid tripping over your words. To help ease some of the awkwardness of asking in person , we have some tips and examples of how to write a salary increase letter. Key Takeaways Send a salary raise letter when the company is doing well, when your last raise was at least a year ago, and when you’ve become a more valuable employee. Include the reason and justification for your request in your letter, as well as the specific salary you’re asking for. Don’t complain, refer to your coworkers’ salaries, or talk about your personal or the company’s financial situations in your pay increase letter. Why Put a Salary Increase Request in Writing?
You should put your salary increase request in writing because it establishes formal documentation of your request. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a conversation with your boss about getting a raise beforehand.
In fact, we encourage you to use the letter as one step in the process of asking for a raise. The letter serves to formalize the request and ensure that it’s taken seriously.
Your company will keep it on file. This means that if your request is denied or you receive a smaller pay bump than you asked for, the company can always refer back to what you initially asked for.
This creates pressure on the company to eventually get you the salary you desire since they can see how long ago you asked and what you asked for.
When you casually bring up a raise, and your boss casually responds it’s in the works, there’s no physical proof of this exchange. Sending a salary increase letter makes for a swifter timeline, so you won’t be on the hook, continually waiting for your raise to come to fruition.
It will make it less awkward. Writing a salary increase letter is less awkward than trying to broach the subject in person. You also get the benefit of having time to think through why you deserve a pay raise without the pressure of coming up with reasons on the spot. All of which makes for a more effective and straightforward salary increase request.
You should send your salary increase letter to whoever manages your pay raises, bonuses, and other salary decisions. That could be your manager , supervisor, or the head of your department – if you’re unsure exactly who the right person to send it to is, contact your human resources department , and they should have the answer.
You want to avoid going over the head of the person directly responsible for your pay raises because it will come off as unprofessional and limit your chances of receiving a salary increase.
One of the benefits of putting your salary increase request in writing is that it creates a formal paper trail. In other words, if you don’t trust your manager, this letter will be on file to show precisely when you requested a raise. That way, if your request is denied, you’ve got a much stronger argument the next time you make a request.
Getting the timing right is critical in boosting your chances of success when sending a salary increase letter. Good moments to ask for a raise include:
When the company is doing well. You know the term “reading the room.” If you’re paying attention and everyone’s on edge because of potential downsizing, it’s probably unwise to ask for a raise.
When you’ve just completed a big project. If you and/or your team just completed a substantial project (successfully), that’s a good time to put in a salary increase request. Just make sure you made some (ideally) quantifiable contribution to the project’s success. That way, your achievements are fresh in the mind of whoever’s in charge of pay raises.
When it’s been over a year since your last raise. Most companies issue pay raises on an annual basis around the end of the fiscal year. Keep track of when your last raise was (or ask HR if you forgot) so that you’re not viewed as overly keen by requesting a raise multiple times a year.
When it’s time for performance reviews. What better time to bring up a raise than when your performance is being evaluated? It may help the raise come about faster if you send a salary increase letter in anticipation of an excellent performance review . Still, you can wait until after your supervisor tells you what a marvelous employee you are.
When your salary is below the market rate. Your employer will take your salary increase request more seriously if you’re currently paid below the market rate for someone in your position. Use resources like Payscale.com , Salary.com , and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to see what a typical worker with your position in your geographical area receives as a salary.
When you’ve taken on more responsibilities. Even if your title hasn’t changed, if you’ve had a recent increase in your daily duties, that should be reflected in your compensation. This also applies to employees who have completed a probationary period in their position and were promised a change in status afterward.
When you’ve improved your skills or qualifications. If you’ve recently learned how to perform new functions that increase your value to the company, that creates a strong case for requesting a salary increase.
While no two letters should look exactly the same, there are elements of a salary increase request that you should always include. Here are some things your salary request letter should definitely include:
The letter’s purpose. Don’t beat around the bush – you’re writing this letter to receive a raise, so state that fact early on. Mention how long you’ve worked at your company and/or position and how great it is to work there to give the reader some perspective.
Your reason for the request. Take a look at the good times to ask for a raise listed above. Choose which one(s) apply to your situation and bring it up here (excepting the “company is doing well” reason).
Your justification(s) for receiving a raise. Preparation comes in handy here. This section could be combined with your “reason for the request” section if your reason involves taking on more responsibilities or having successfully completed an important project.
The salary you want . Don’t be vague or leave it up to the company’s judgment. Ask either for a fixed dollar amount or a percentage raise. Again, use your salary data research to determine what a reasonable figure would be, and don’t go too far beyond that. A typical merit-based pay raise is around 3%, so you can use that as a starting point.
Room for negotiation You never want to come across as demanding in a salary increase letter. Express that you’re open to finding an equitable solution for both parties, and whoever’s in charge of pay raises will be more apt to meet you halfway.
Appreciation for consideration. It never hurts to be polite. Thank the reader for taking the time to consider your salary increase request.
Subject line: Tim Felton Salary Increase Request Dear Ms. Hutchins, I am writing to formally request an increase in my current salary. I have loved working as a Digital Marketing Manager at XYZ Corp. for the past four years, but my role has evolved during that time. I believe that I have met and responded to new challenges well and continue to add more value to the company. In light of my recent accomplishments, I believe a raise of at least 10% is justified. For example, over the past year, I have: Integrated our social media pages across platforms, increasing our website traffic by 23% Developed our product campaign in the Midwest, opening up a new market and increasing XYZ Corp.’s growth potential Streamlined internal processes to allow our team greater swiftness and efficiency in responding to the ever-adapting nature of digital marketing Successfully gathered and managed a remote team of employees from across the country, who have high regard for my management style (as per my stellar managerial review) Besides demonstrating excellent communication and leadership skills, I have also developed HTML and Python skills that allow me to work more closely with our web developers, simplifying our process for product development. After completing salary research, I found my current annual salary of $58,000 is well below the median pay for digital marketing managers in our region, $65,000. Therefore, I am requesting a 10% salary raise, which would bring my annual salary in line with the market rate. Thank you for taking the time to consider adjusting my salary. I am open to having a discussion about reaching a mutually beneficial salary agreement. Please let me know when would be a good time to find a salary solution that works for everyone. Sincerely, Tim Felton
Subject line: [Your Name] Salary Increase Request Dear [Managers Name], I am writing to formally request an increase in my current salary. I have loved working as a [job title] at [company name] for the past [years worked], but my role has evolved during that time. I believe that I have met and responded to new challenges well and continue to add more value to the company. In light of my recent accomplishments, I believe a raise of at least [salary increase percent] is justified. For example, over the past year, I have: [accomplishment one] [accomplishment two] [accomplishment three] [accomplishment four] Besides demonstrating excellent [skill type], I have also developed [skill type] that allow me to work more closely with our [other coworkers/departments], simplifying our process for product development. After completing salary research, I found my current annual salary of [current salary] is well below the median pay for [job title] in our region, [salary average]. Therefore, I am requesting a [salary percent increase] salary raise, which would bring my annual salary in line with the market rate. Thank you for taking the time to consider adjusting my salary. I am open to having a discussion about reaching a mutually beneficial salary agreement. Please let me know when would be a good time to find a salary solution that works for everyone. Sincerely, [Your Name]
You’ve written out your salary increase letter and included everything we suggested above. Great! Now you may be thinking of adding a few other finishing touches. Hold on; make sure that you’re not including any of the following elements in your salary increase letter:
Complaints. Look, nobody likes a whiny tone. If your letter sounds like it was written by a pouty child expressing little other than “it’s not fair, I want more,” then it’ll hurt your chances of getting a raise.
Coworker’s salary information. This is a letter about you, your performance, and your pay – don’t drag other people into it. It’s viewed as highly unprofessional and even downright rude to bring up someone else’s financial situation.
Your personal financial situation. We get that you might be going through some personal trouble with your finances, but that’s not a good reason to get a pay raise.
Company’s financial situation. We mentioned that it’s good to ask for a raise when your company is doing well, but that doesn’t mean you should include that fact in your salary increase letter.
How do I write a good salary increase letter?
You write a good salary increase letter by clearly stating the letter’s purpose, your reasons and justifications for your request, and what salary you’re asking for. Try to keep it concise, but including these details will help you make a stronger case.
What not to say when asking for a raise?
Don’t complain, mention your coworkers’ salaries, or talk about your personal financial needs when asking for a raise. You also shouldn’t mention the company’s financial position — it’s tacky to say, “I know you’re making plenty of money, so can I have some?”
Can I get fired for asking for a raise?
Yes, you can technically get fired for asking for a raise. There isn’t usually a law preventing employers from firing you for this reason. However, it’s very rare for companies to do this, as it’s not a good business practice.
What is a fair raise to ask for?
It’s fair to ask for a 10-20% raise. Make sure you can back up your request with plenty of reasons why you’re worth this money to the company, and be willing to negotiate.
Lesa Edwards CEO, Exclusive Career Coaching
It is so important to do your homework–this letter MUST be about your contributions, achievements, and how your salary compares to the local market. You don’t want to talk about your personal situation (e.g. your financial obligations or the fact that your spouse is out of work); while important to you, these facts are irrelevant.
Julie Sliga Owner, Career Counselor at Panoramic PDX
Companies tediously research salaries and create pay structures that are competitive within the market range. They are not often transparent about that range.
Your company has done its research, now you have to do yours. You don’t want to overshoot, but you don’t want to sell yourself short, either.
I advise my clients to check several reliable sources that publish salary data and reflect honestly on their qualifications and experience to assess where they fall within that range.
Salaries in certain industries can vary widely depending on the individual’s local labor market–make sure you look at both local and national data.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
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Matthew Zane is the lead editor of Zippia's How To Get A Job Guides. He is a teacher, writer, and world-traveler that wants to help people at every stage of the career life cycle. He completed his masters in American Literature from Trinity College Dublin and BA in English from the University of Connecticut.
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Topics: Get A Raise , Get Paid
Asking for a Raise Letter: Advice and Sample Letters
The fact is this: If you don’t ask for a raise, you may never get it. Or, if your employer does give you a raise, it might be much less than you believe you deserve. Why? Because you never made the case to the boss about why you deserve a bigger paycheck. Continue reading below for our advice on asking for a raise letter.
Asking for a raise in writing versus face-to-face
How to write a letter asking for a raise, sample letter asking for a raise.
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How To Write a Letter Requesting a Pay Raise
Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.
Is It Acceptable To Negotiate Salary by Email or Letter?
What to include in your letter or email message, sample letter requesting a raise, how to send your letter via email, frequently asked questions (faqs).
Nervous about asking for a pay raise? Putting your request in writing might make it easier.
A written request gives you a chance to pitch the reasons why you’re worth more than what you’re currently getting paid, without stammering over your choice of words. It may also offer your manager a chance to review your situation before answering.
But to make the best impression on your boss, you need to write a letter that makes a good case for giving you a raise. Here’s what to keep in mind.
- Your boss may welcome a written request as it gives them the chance to consider your case before meeting in person.
- Conduct salary research to set a pay range that’s based on your experience, skills, education, and location.
- List and quantify your accomplishments, paying particular attention to goals exceeded and money saved or earned by the company.
Some career experts will tell you that in-person is the only way to go when it comes to negotiating a raise . That’s not necessarily the case.
Many (if not most) people are uncomfortable talking about salary. This is true for both the people in charge of giving out raises and the people hoping to receive them. In fact, data collected for Payscale’s Salary Negotiation Guide showed that only 43% of respondents had ever negotiated salary in their current field. Twenty-eight percent of folks who didn’t ask for a raise listed discomfort talking about salary as their reason for holding back.
Making the request in writing helps ease any discomfort you or your boss might feel. It also gives your manager a chance to consider your request before he or she responds.
Sending a written request avoids putting your supervisor on the spot, and it can pave the way for a discussion about your wages and a potential increase.
It also gives you the chance to do your homework and make your request as smoothly as possible. No need to worry about forgetting what you want to say or stumbling over the words when you can write it all down.
In addition, your letter provides formal documentation of your request for a pay increase. It’s always best to have a paper trail for important business communications. Unlike a verbal conversation, a letter requesting a pay raise documents exactly what you’ve asked for and how you’ve asked for it.
Before you even begin writing your letter, make sure that your salary request is reasonable. Conduct salary research to determine the appropriate range for your position, experience, and accomplishments. Remember that the goal is to show that you deserve a raise—that you’ve earned it and that it’s in line with the market for your skills, experience, and job title.
Once you’ve determined an appropriate range, it’s time to build your case.
It’s crucial to be specific when you’re asking for a salary increase. Quantify your accomplishments and achievements whenever possible.
Don’t expect your manager to know everything you’ve done on the job. (In fact, as an ongoing practice, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of writing down everything you accomplish on a daily or weekly basis so that you can refer to your achievements at review time or when you’re asking for a raise.)
Take the time to spell it out for them so they can clearly see why you may warrant a raise. This also provides support for your request if your manager needs to get approval from their boss or the human resources department. The more solid information you can provide, the more likely you are to get the increase you're asking for.
This is a raise request letter example. Download the letter template for requesting a raise (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Sample Letter Requesting a Raise (Text Version)
Melody Brown 123 North St. Miami, FL 33151 555-555-5555 firstname.lastname@example.org
September 22, 2022
Lydia Smith, Manager XYZ Sales Company 321 South St. Miami, FL 33125
I have greatly enjoyed working at XYZ Sales Company for the past three years. In those years, I have become an integral member of the sales team and have developed innovative ways to contribute to the company.
For example, in the past year alone, I have achieved the following goals:
- Highest-ranking salesperson in customer satisfaction last quarter
- Brought two new high-profile clients to the company, increasing total company sales revenue by 10%
- Voluntarily trained incoming sales staff, totaling 80 hours of voluntary service
I believe I have gone above and beyond the benchmarks we set for my position when I arrived at the company three years ago.
I would therefore appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss increasing my salary so that it is commensurate with my current performance. I request a pay raise of 6%, which I believe reflects both my current competencies and industry averages.
Once again, I am grateful to be a member of this organization, and I enjoy taking on assignments that allow me to contribute to the company.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Signature (hard copy letter)
Sample Email Letter Requesting a Pay Raise
Subject Line: George Smith – Meeting Request
Now that the XYZ project is in the rearview and we're all settling back into our regular routines, I wanted to drop you a line to ask if we can have a meeting to discuss my compensation.
As you know, I started at ABC Corp two years ago as an intern and came on board at a salary that was slightly low in the pay band, with the understanding that we would revisit my pay at review time. Since then, of course, we’ve all been too busy to think much about anything but hitting our deadlines.
I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to start my career with mentors like you and Jack and to continue to learn in a company that's growing so fast. Over the past two years, I've gladly worn many hats, including lead on our latest project. In addition, I've always exceeded my own goals without missing a single deadline. I've also continued developing my skillset by taking classes in UX design.
My research indicates that a raise of 10% would be appropriate. I'd love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss this in person.
Most offices rely on email for written communication. If you send your request for a raise via email, the bulk of your letter will be the same as in a hard copy. There are, however, some small differences to keep in mind:
- Omit the paragraphs at the top with your address and your manager’s address.
- Choose an appropriate subject line , e.g., “Your Name - Request.”
- Keep your note concise and to the point.
Proofread your letter and send yourself a test copy to make sure that your formatting comes out the way you intended. Only when you’re sure that everything is correct should you send it to your manager.
How much should I ask for when negotiating a raise?
When asking for a raise, start by researching salary ranges for your job title, location, and qualifications. Consider your achievements and skillset and take into account competition for jobs (or skilled employees) in your area. Your goal should be to bring your compensation in line with the market.
How do I politely ask for a raise?
Remember that your employer isn’t your adversary. They have a stake in making sure you’re paid appropriately for your work. Make your case based on your salary research and be gracious and professional during the conversation.
Payscale. " Salary Negotiation Guide ."
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How to write a raise request letter
Asking your boss for more money might feel uncomfortable, and you might even be fearful that it can backfire, causing your boss to have negative feelings about you. By putting in ample research and preparation, however, writing a professional and formal raise request letter can position you as a confident employee who brings value to the company and wants to be fairly compensated for doing so.
Depending on the nature of your work relationships, you can either ask for a meeting with your supervisor (or whomever makes decisions about raises and promotions), or you could start the process with a letter outlining your request and why you think you deserve a raise.
Should you ask for a raise in writing?
Everyone's stomach tends to tighten when they think about asking for a raise . Letters can help break the ice. They can be useful for supplementing an in-person (or video) conversation. Putting your request in writing provides a paper trail and an easy point of reference should your immediate boss need to discuss your request with their boss. A letter can help build your case.
What should be in your raise request letter?
If you do put a request in writing, the most important thing to highlight are your recent accomplishments , says Vicki Salemi, Monster’s career expert. And if you can quantify them, even better. If you saved the company money, state how much; if you exceeded sales goals, share that figure, too. You can also include testimonials and/or accolades from clients, peers, and your boss/management to further amplify the value you bring to the organization.
The other key section to include is industry research, especially if you discover that you’re being underpaid as compared to others who hold your position in comparable companies. Monster's salary guide can show you what you're worth, but go beyond online salary calculators to include data from local chapters of industry associations, which may be more accurate.
Lastly, include your salary request amount. Be reasonable, but also leave a little room for negotiation if they decide to meet you halfway. Then, close out your letter by thanking your boss for considering your request.
These are all points you should make in person during your meeting as well, says Salemi, but having it all outlined in a letter can help guide the conversation.
Be assertive, but dignified and professional
When crafting your letter, it’s important not to sound like you’re demanding a salary increase or else. If it has a threatening tone that implies you may look elsewhere, your boss could end up calling your bluff.
You also don’t want to get into office rumors about other colleagues making more than you do, or other implications along those lines. Instead, stick to what you’ve brought to the table, and why that’s worthy of additional compensation.
Finally, your letter should be formally structured , not written like a casual email. Be sure to proofread it as well.
A sample raise request letter you can use
To help you get started as you craft a salary request, start with this template and customize it to meet your situation.
Dear. Ms. Young,
I’m writing to express my gratitude for the opportunities that my role at this company has provided me, as well as to formally request a salary review. As you know, I’ve been in the position of XYZ for XX years now, and I’ve consistently taken on new challenges and responsibilities.
Over the last XX years, I’ve increased my skills, and my role has evolved to include A, B, and C. In just the last six months, some of my accomplishments have included:
• [Example 1 using raw numbers if possible]
• [Example 2 citing another data point]
• [Example 3 about how you contributed to the company culture in some way]
What’s more, in my most recent evaluation, my peers and colleagues gave me a high rating, illustrating that I’m a highly valued member of the team.
Based on my research with the Local Chapter of the XYZ Association, the average salary for my position in this region is currently $85,000; my current compensation is more than 10% below that. I’m requesting a 12% raise to better align with industry standards as well as recognize my contributions to the company.
I am eager to discuss this matter with you further and am open to negotiation. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Get paid what you’re worth
Ultimately, your raise request letter and meeting may or may not go in your favor. It’s always a good idea to see what other opportunities are out there. Need some help taking the first step? Join Monster for free today . As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads.
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You’ve been offered your dream job in software engineering, now let’s make sure you get paid exactly what you deserve
A step-by-step process to build your case and ask for the raise you deserve
Negotiating a raise
How to write a salary increase letter to ask your boss for a raise
Schedule a meeting, ask for a raise, and follow up with these salary increase
by Josh Doody
You’re pretty sure you’re underpaid. You’ve been doing great work, but no one seems to notice and it’s been a long time since you got a salary increase.
It’s time to do something about it, but you’re not sure how to get a raise. You’re not even sure where to start .
The process starts and ends with email, so we’ll do a deep dive into how to ask for a raise with a salary increase letter to your manager. You’ll also get word-for-word examples of what to say when asking for a raise in person because the one non-email part of the process is when you actually make the request.
Looking for a specific email template?
- Ask to discuss compensation in your next 1-on-1
- Schedule a one-off meeting to talk about pay
- Salary increase letter - building your case
- Follow up on your raise request
- Ask for a specific action plan to get a salary increase
- Negotiate a new job offer
...or get the salary increase letter template sent directly to your inbox right away!
Finally get the raise you deserve with this proven strategy
A former hiring manager tells you exactly what you need to know to ask for the raise you want.
- 7 short video lessons —Short but detailed video lessons cover each step to build your case and request your raise.
- Worksheets to help you build your case —Estimate your market value and bulid your case with simple worksheets.
- 7 email templates —Tactfully communicate with your manager throughout the process.
And much, much more.
Read more about Get Your Next Raise
Or buy it now for just $199
Some companies address employee compensation in small salary increments—a percent or two every now and then—rather than big jumps. And some companies will grant big raises for exceptional employees.
You’re underpaid, so you’re looking for a big raise. And that means you need to demonstrate that you’re an exceptional employee.
How to ask for a salary increase with a letter or email
Asking for a raise is a lot easier when you have the tools to ask for the right thing in the right way. So let’s walk through the exact process and words you can use to schedule a meeting, ask for a raise at work, and follow up after you ask for a raise.
Ask for a time to discuss your salary increase
Salary negotiation—when you’re changing jobs or working to increase your salary at your current job—is a collaboration. You’re not so much asking your manager to give you a raise as you are asking your manager to work with you to adjust your compensation to reflect the value you add in your role.
Sometimes your manager has full discretion over their compensation budget. And sometimes your manager doesn’t even have a budget for raises, and will submit a request for salary increment to HR, who will take it from there.
The first step to collaborating with your manager to ask for a raise is to schedule a time to talk about it. This can be awkward, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are a two ways to initiate a conversation to ask for a salary increase.
If you have a regular 1-on-1 with your manager
If you have a regular 1-on-1 with your manager, even as infrequently as once a month, that’s the perfect time to discuss a salary increase. All you need to do is give your manager a heads-up so they have time to prepare for the discussion and maybe even do some research to see what might be possible.
You could reach out with a short email or even just send a quick instant message that you would like to talk about your compensation in your next 1-on-1.
Here’s an email template you can use to give your manager a heads-up that you would like to talk about a salary increase in your next 1-on-1 meeting:
To: [Your manager] Subject: A topic for our next 1-on-1
Hi [Manager name]
Do you mind if we use a few minutes of our next 1-on-1 to talk about my compensation? It won't take long, and I just wanted to see if we can set aside a few minutes for that topic.
Talk to you soon!
If you do NOT have a regular 1-on-1 with your manager
This situation is similar, but you’ll also need to schedule a meeting since you don’t have a regular meeting on the books.
In this case, it’s best to send a short email saying that you would like to schedule a meeting to talk about your compensation because you’ll also need to schedule a specific time. Make sure to suggest a few times when you’ll be available so your manager can choose the one that’s most convenient for them.
Here’s an email template you can use to give your manager a heads-up that you would like to schedule a meeting to talk about your compensation:
To: [Your manager] Subject: Are you available to meet next week?
Are you available for a short meeting next week to talk about my compensation? It won't take long, and I just wanted to see if we can set aside a few minutes some time soon.
Here are some days and times that seem good for both of us:
- [Weekday], [Date] at [Time]
- [Example] Tuesday, January 5 at 10:30 AM
- [Example] Wednesday, January 6 at 2:15 PM
Do any of those times work for you? If not, feel free to suggest some times that do work for you and I'll find one that works for me as well!
Thanks for your time!
Scheduling your salary increase discussion via internal chat like Slack or Google Chat
You may not even need to send an email to your manager to schedule a time. You can just reach out in Slack (via DM), Google Chat, or your internal messaging platform.
Here’s what you might say if you have regular 1-on-1s:
Do you mind if we use a few minutes of our next 1-on-1 to talk about my compensation? It won’t take long, and I just wanted to see if we can set aside a few minutes for that topic.
And here’s what you might say if you don’t have regular 1-on-1s:
Are you available for a short meeting next week to talk about my compensation? It won’t take long, and I just wanted to see if we can set aside a few minutes some time soon.
When should you use these scripts to schedule a meeting to ask for a salary increase?
Once you’ve sent your request to schedule a time to talk about getting a raise, the door is open. But there’s still work to do so you can present a compelling case that makes it easy for your manager to work with you to get your raise.
Before you use those templates to schedule a time to ask for a raise, I recommend building your case and putting it in a letter or email. Not only will this help with your collaboration effort, but it will help you to objectively evaluate if you’re even ready to ask for a raise.
The process of putting your case in writing will either help you to clearly see how strong your case is or to identify gaps that you should address before you schedule that meeting to make a formal request.
How to build a compelling case to request a salary increase
Once you’ve scheduled a time with your manager, it will help to be as organized and prepared as possible. Remember, you’re collaborating with your manager to ask a raise, so you want to make it as easy as possible for them to help you achieve your goal.
Here are the basic components you need to ask for a raise. I recommend writing an email because it’s the best way to make sure your case is solid and because an email will be easy to circulate later on for the approval process.
Here is a detailed explanation of each section you should include in your email to make sure your salary increase letter has all the components you need before you ask for your raise.
First, here’s an example that we’ll break down section by section.
Note: Don’t send this email yet! You’ll send it after you ask for a raise in person.
[1. Address] To: [Your manager] [2. Subject] Subject: [Your name] salary adjustment discussion—follow-up
[3. Greeting] Hi [Your manager's name]
[4. Introduction and request] Thanks for your time the other day. As we discussed, it has been [amount of time] since ["my last significant salary adjustment" OR “since I was hired”] , and I would like to revisit my salary now that I’m contributing much more to the company. I’ve been researching salaries for [job title] in [industry] industry, and it looks like the mid-point is around [mid-point from your research] . So I would like to request a raise to [target salary] .
[5. Accomplishments Intro] I’ve been working very hard to find ways to contribute value to our company. Here are some of my accomplishments over the past several months:
- Activity → result
[7. Accolades Intro] And here is some feedback I’ve received from clients and coworkers over the past several months—their feedback speaks louder than anything I could say:
- Client or coworker name—"Quote" or general feedback documented in email or survey
- Client or coworker name—“Quote” or general feedback documented in email or survey
[9. Conclusion and repeated request] I believe these accomplishments and feedback show that my work merits a higher salary, and [target salary] seems well aligned to the current market and with the additional value I am adding to our company since my current salary was set. I look forward to hearing what I can do to help make this happen.
[10. Signoff and signature] Thanks again for your time and consideration!
All the best
A section-by-section overview the components to include in your salary increase letter
Let’s walk through each section of your email to ask for a raise so you’re comfortable with it. You may already have everything you need to get a raise. Or you may need to do some light research to fill in the blanks.
Each section below has everything you need to complete the template, so let’s get started!
Address it to your manager
Remember, you should send this letter after asking for a raise from your manager. So you’re addressing this email to your manager as a follow-up to a previous conversation.
This email is your written salary increase request, so you want everything to be as clear and obvious as possible. Include your name and explicitly state that this letter is about your salary increase request so that there are no surprises for anyone who might read it later on.
Keep it short and sweet: “Hi Tina” will do. You’re going to send this email to your manager after you ask for a raise, so they’ll be expecting it—no need for a formal introduction.
Introduction and request (your target salary)
You have already requested your salary increase in a meeting, and this is a way of reminding your manager what you requested so it’s easy to find when they need to.
I recommend stating the midpoint from your market research before your target salary so that the first number is a market number—a fact that is determined by external data. That should pave the way for your request, which will seem much more reasonable when presented immediately after the market-set midpoint.
This is the most important part of your salary increase letter because it clearly describes the additional, unanticipated value you have added to the company since your salary was last set. This is why you’re asking for a raise, so take your time and do this right.
Include a few of your best recent accomplishments to highlight the value of your work. This letter isn’t a complete historical record of everything you’ve ever done for the company. It’s a skimmable document that makes a strong case for whoever is holding the purse strings to give you a raise.
You want the person reading this to think, “They’re already adding so much more value to the company then when they were hired. This seems like a totally reasonable request given all the money they have and saved us since then.”
I recommend covering a reasonable amount of time—the past six to 12 months—in this section so that your case is as compelling as possible when you finally present it. If you have trouble with this section, that’s a red flag that your case may not be as strong as you anticipated, and you may not have earned as much of a raise as you thought.
Accolades are awards or recognition that you’ve received for your work. Managers are busy people, and sometimes they won’t notice the great work you do. This is your chance to let them know that others have noticed your great work in case they missed it.
Highlight your best results from the past six months to a year. This isn’t a complete record, it’s a skimmable list that should raise eyebrows when others see it. Remember that the person approving this salary increase request may not know who you are, so you’re giving them a short summary of your accolades to let them know that they should be impressed with you because other people are impressed with you.
I strongly recommend you have at least a couple items in this section before asking for a raise, but if your “Accomplishments” section makes a very strong case on its own, this section may not be necessary.
Conclusion and repeated request
Finish your letter with a summary of your salary increase request along with your case. This is a one-paragraph summary of your request, just in case the reader is in a hurry. Keep it to just two or three sentences.
Signoff and signature
Thank your manager for their time and keep it brief.
What to say to your boss in your 1-on-1 asking for a raise (do this before you send your salary increase letter!)
I recommend asking for a raise in person before you send this salary increase letter. Writing your case ahead of time is the perfect way to prepare for that discussion so you’re sure that your case is rock solid before you ask for a raise.
This conversation will be fluid, but it will help to start it off on the right path. Once you’ve scheduled your 1-on-1 with your manager and you’ve got your case in writing, you have everything you need to ask for your raise in person.
Here’s a script you can use to begin that conversation with your manager in your 1-on-1:
Thanks for taking the time to talk with me about my compensation. As I mentioned in my email, I would like to ask for a raise. Based on the work I’ve been doing and some market research I’ve done, I would like to ask for a raise to [your target salary] .
Since my last salary adjustment, I’ve done things like [one of your accomplishments] and have gotten some great recognition like [one of your accolades] , so I think I’m ready for this raise.
Can you help me with this?
You manager may give you immediate feedback or ask some clarifying questions, but then the approval process takes over.
What happens after you ask for your raise in person and in writing?
Once you’ve asked your manager for a raise and then followed up by sending your raise request in writing, your manager will need to get approval for your raise.
The reason this email is so important is that your manager will likely forward it to the approvers so they have all the information they need to make their decision as to whether it’s time to increment your salary. If you ask for a raise without sending this email, then your manager will have to summarize your case for you, and they’re just not going to do as good a job as you can.
So this email gives you the opportunity to make your case in your own words to whoever needs to approve your request. And that gives you the greatest chance getting your salary increase.
Follow-up on your request with a short email
Getting a raise is a top priority for you, but it probably isn’t your manager’s top priority. Even if you schedule a good time to talk with your manager and bring a strong case when asking for a raise, you may not hear back for a while.
So you may need to follow up a few times to make sure your request doesn’t fall through the cracks.
Here’s a short email template you can use to follow up after you ask for a raise.
To: [Your manager] Subject: Re: [Your name] salary adjustment discussion—follow-up
Thanks again for taking the time to talk about my compensation. I just wanted to follow up to see if there's anything else I can provide to help the process along.
Do you need anything else from me?
If not, what are our next steps?
Thanks again for your time!
A good subject for this followup email is “Re: [Your name] salary adjustment discussion—follow-up” because you should reply to the thread where you sent your written request if possible. That will make it easy for your manager to find your request when it’s time to pass it along to HR or Finance for consideration.
I recommend waiting a week or two before sending a followup email. If you don’t hear anything definitive after another week or two, send it again. And make sure you continue to follow up on your conversation in your 1-on-1s as well.
You may need to follow up several times to get the ball rolling.
What if your salary increase request is put on hold for now?
One last thing: Asking for a raise—even with a strong case—doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the raise you asked for. Sometimes you’ll get a clear “yes” or “no”, but sometimes your manager will say “It’s just not a good time right now” or “I don’t think you’re quite ready yet. Let’s revisit this later.”
In this case, it’s important to establish a clear plan so you know exactly what you need to do to improve your case and revisit your request at a better time.
Here’s an email template you can use to ask your manager for a specific plan to get your next raise:
Thanks again for taking the time to talk about my compensation.
I’m disappointed that we couldn’t adjust my salary to [your target salary], but I understand that the timing isn't quite right, and I want to be ready when it's time to revisit our discussion.
Can we please talk about what I need to do, specifically, to earn that raise? And can we talk about a timetable for when it might be feasible?
I would love to work with you to put together a clear action plan and timeline so we can continue this discussion and monitor my progress as I work toward my goal.
Thanks for working with me on this!
You can send an email to ask for a plan, or you could paraphrase ask verbally in your next 1-on-1. Your goal in this situation is to establish your specific goals and a specific timeline so you can measure progress and revisit the conversation later on.
Specificity is the key to avoiding raise limbo.
What to say when asking for a raise at work is a big topic. But we can break it down into smaller pieces that are each relatively straightforward.
Ask for a time to discuss your pay raise to get the ball rolling:
- Ask to discuss you salary increase in your next 1-on-1
Draft your salary increase letter to ask for a raise in writing
Ask for your salary increase in person with this script.
- How to ask for a raise in person
Follow up until you get a definitive answer
Ask for a specific plan to get a salary increase if your request wasn’t granted, you might also like.
The software developer’s guide to getting a raise without changing jobs
Here’s how to boost your lifetime earnings by hundreds of thousands of dollars by getting periodic raises without changing jobs.
How to write a salary increase letter to ask for a raise (including templates)
How do you ask for a salary increase? Here’s how to write a salary increase letter, schedule a meeting with your boss, and follow up to get your next raise.
Use the “Start. Stop. Continue.” method to plan your next steps
This simple method will help you evaluate your past results and plan for future progress.
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A former hiring manager shows you how to finally get the raise you deserve
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