How to Write a Formal Letter Asking for a Raise

The idea of writing a formal letter asking for a raise can seem daunting.

Why Write a Formal Letter Asking for a Raise?

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Even if you decide to meet with your boss in person, you have many advantages in writing a salary increase letter. Here are three reasons you should consider submitting your request in writing:

Putting your salary request in writing will help you organize your thoughts and create persuasive arguments to support your salary increase.

You can prepare yourself for future discussions and ensure that you do not miss important information by listing your various accomplishments and experiences. When you are face to face with your boss, you might forget to mention everything because you are nervous.

Your supervisor will have plenty of time to review your points and forward the appeal to any senior personnel. Showing up to your boss with a request they might not anticipate or are fully prepared to take can backfire. Your boss may not be able to process your reasoning entirely and refuse your request outright.

It is a good idea to have documentation of the agreement (or disagreement) when a decision is made. Your manager may agree to a raise but then deny it for whatever reason. Having a written correspondence as proof eliminates that possibility.

Asking for A Raise in Person vs. Writing a Letter

When you ask for a raise, it’s natural to feel a little bit uncomfortable. You might be afraid that it might backfire. Letters can be of great help. In-person (or video) conversations can also be supplemented by them. If your immediate boss needs to discuss your request with you, you can have a paper trail and an easy reference point. You can build a solid case by writing a letter.

Asking for a pay raise in person can help your boss understand you’re serious. It’s also beneficial to have your manager’s attention completely, as they can ignore or not even read your email. You can also gauge their reaction in a face-to-face conversation and alter your conversation accordingly.

So, in the end, there are positives and negatives to both arguments. However, it may be good to open this idea to your manager in person first. And if they ignore or deny your request, send a well-crafted letter to change their mind.

How to Write a Formal Letter Asking for a Raise?

Before starting to write your letter, there are some key points that you have to keep in mind to ensure the best outcome.

Send the Raise Request Letter to the Right People

Your salary request should be sent to the person responsible for your team’s salary decisions. This person can be your manager or head of the department.

Avoid going above someone’s head and creating unnecessary animosity.

Do Some Research Beforehand

Make sure you are being underpaid as opposed to others who hold similar positions. There are many platforms where you can see what you’re worth, but you should also include data from local industry associations.

If you research the numbers, you will demonstrate that your salary request is supported by real data instead of your own appraisal.

Come Up With an Exact Figure

As with the above, coming up with the exact figure will demonstrate that you have done your research and are serious. 

Make sure you state clearly what you are asking in your letter

A specific amount in your request is more likely to be taken seriously. You are less likely to receive a counteroffer than you would be willing to accept when you describe a salary or percentage increase.

If you aren’t sure of the company’s financial flexibility and would not commit to an exact figure, include a salary range instead.

Timing is Key!

Finding out when your company’s cycle is most suited for a raise is the first step. Does your company approve pay raises only during performance review periods?

Also, consider whether your organization has recently had layoffs or stopped hiring. If your company recently laid-off employees or reduced revenue, your appeal is likely to go nowhere fast, regardless of how great you are.

State Your Accomplishments Clearly

When it comes to your career with the company, what have you been able to accomplish? Describe your achievements and how you have contributed to the company. Provide precise measurements when possible for the most amount of impact.

Don’t just say, for example, “I increased my number of sales in 2020,”. Instead, “I was able to increase my sales by 30% year over year, leading to an additional $20,000 in revenue.”. You should also mention any new skills or responsibilities you have acquired during your time with the company.

If you took on the responsibilities of a co-worker who left the company or took an extended break, be sure to mention that!

Express Your Gratitude to the Company

Thank your boss and the company for the opportunities they have provided and for taking the time to consider your request.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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