CAREER & HIRING ADVICE

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How To Write an Email or Letter Asking for a Raise

In the business realm, the rule is simple: You work and get paid. However, the harsh reality is that most employees don’t exactly get what they deserve. Therefore, it’s best to know how to negotiate salary with an employer.
Here’s the problem: According to the Pew Research Center, most American workers claim they didn’t ask for better pay when they were hired for a job. Only 34% of men and 28% of women DID ask for a higher one than what was initially offered.

But here’s the good news: Among those who asked for higher pay, 28% said they got what they asked for. About 38% claimed they were given more than the initial offer but less than their salary request. Only 35% said they got what was first offered.

Now that you’ve worked for your employer for some time, asking for a salary increase won’t hurt. But when is the right time to do so? And how do you go about doing that?

This page shares some negotiation tactics for a salary increase. Specifically, learn how to write an email or letter asking for a raise. Ready? Read on. 

How To Ask for a Raise via Email or Letter

A vast majority of employees feel they don’t get compensated enough. Think of the demanding jobs in today’s business landscape versus high inflation and economic pressures on every household. In fact, Statista cited that the inflation rate exceeded wage growth for the first time in recent years, amounting to 3.4% in April of this year.

How can every household or family survive? The answer is asking for a raise to get better monthly pay. Unfortunately, most employees are quite hesitant to request a higher salary. 

It’s not a problem if your employer offers raises upon regularization or during promotion. You should not ask for one if your company already provides an annual appraisal or a performance-based salary increase.

But when your employer doesn’t offer those salary benefits mentioned above, don’t hesitate to ask for a higher salary. This is especially true if you believe you deserve higher pay. Why? Heed our advice:

That said, here’s how to ask for a raise via email or letter:

1. Decide first if it’s worth asking for a raise

Requesting a raise doesn’t happen just when you feel like doing so. There must be a valid reason for requesting a salary increase. Ask yourself: Is it the right time to negotiate for a raise? Here’s when to ask for a raise:

  • Added tasks or increased responsibilities: Start by checking your contract to review your scope of work. You might be handling functions that are no longer included in your job description, and you deserve a raise for that!
  • Year-long tenure or employee regularization: As cited, many employers provide an automatic raise once you’ve become a regular employee and/or have stayed in the company for a year. But if your company doesn’t offer this, it won’t hurt to negotiate for a salary increase. 
  • Employee achievements or contributions: Employees who have achieved many things or contributed much to the organization are usually entitled to negotiate for a salary increase. If you’re one of them, consider asking for the raise you deserve!
  • Salary increase for jobs in the industry: It’s best to know the standard rates for specific jobs in your industry. Perform a little research to determine if the rates have increased for your niche. If yes, consider asking for a raise or decide to go elsewhere.

John Baek, Founder of JSB Digital Works, believes in being critical when providing employees with fair compensation and benefits. 

Baek says, “Our company has yet to grow, and we’re looking forward to building a solid team. While we seek to provide our employees competitive salaries, we expect them to go above and beyond. The partnership should be a win-win for both parties!”

2. Prepare yourself for the salary negotiation

Once you’ve decided to request a salary increase, it’s time to prepare yourself for the negotiation. Understand that your employer won’t just easily and quickly grant your request. You must explain why you deserve a raise and provide proof to support your request. Here’s what you need to do to prepare:

  • Know your worth or value. This means understanding your role’s impact on the organization and how your duties and responsibilities contribute to the company’s day-to-day operations. Ultimately, your salary should mirror your worth and value as an employee. 
  • Research industry standards. As mentioned above, do your homework to see the standard rates for your job in your industry. Are you compensated reasonably compared to other employees from other companies in your industry? If not, asking for a raise is all the more necessary! 
  • Secure required paperwork. It’s best to support your raise request with all the necessary documents. For example, secure your contract and list all your tasks for a clear comparison. Likewise, showcase your credentials, especially when you’ve consistently been a top performer in your department.

Logan Mallory, Vice President of Marketing at Motivosity, mentions that employees should know their worth and value during a salary negotiation. 

Baek argues, “Our HR personnel don’t just offer employees the standard salary rates during the hiring process. We look at their credentials and offer them the pay they deserve. We also provide a salary increase upon regularization and an appraisal based on performance for motivation. However, employees should demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities.”

3. Create your email or letter format

At this point, you’re now ready to put your request for a salary increase into writing. It’s best to send a formal communication to your immediate supervisor or the human resource (HR). Of course, there are certain formats in business you ought to follow, whether drafting an email or a letter. Here’s the usual format:

  • Letter email or letter subject line: Your email or letter should be entitled to a “Request for a salary increase” or something equivalent. That alone already tells the recipients your intention for the correspondence.
  • Professional greeting: It won’t hurt to start with a simple greeting before diving into the actual request. You can include “Good day! I hope you’re doing great today” or something similar.
  • Straightforward opening: Now, it’s time to get direct to the point by stating your intention for writing. For example, you can say, “I am writing to request a salary increase as a…” Be clear and concise!
  • Detailed body: This is the most crucial part since you need to expound on why you’re asking for a raise. Explain your reasons for doing this and back it up with credentials. And you’re all good!
  • Formal closing: It’s best to end your communication by expressing gratitude to the company and appreciation for considering your request. 

Thomas Medlin, Co-founder at JumpMD, suggests following a simple format for a salary increase request. 

Medlin explains, “When our clients employ our management software, we want these healthcare professionals to be simple, clear, and concise in their referrals. This tactic works the same way with writing business communication. When requesting a salary increase, you don’t want to waste your HR’s time by removing the guesswork and confusion. Be straightforward!”

4. Know what to include in your content

Now, this is the most crucial part—generating content for each and every part. While a business expert above suggests being straightforward, clear, and concise, what should you discuss for each part of the format? Here’s what to consider:

  • Request for salary increase: State your intention to ask for a raise. Don’t go around the bush. Be as formal and professional as possible!
  • The main reason for the request: Of course, you have to justify your request for a salary increase. Do you have additional work? Have you been regularized or hit your first anniversary? Is your salary below the industry standard?
  • Supporting details or cases: You cannot just state your reason for requesting a salary increase. You must back it up with supporting details or cases. For instance, attach your contract versus a list of added tasks or reports showing your performance for the last six months.
  • Request for salary negotiation: It’s also better to ask for a one-on-one meeting for a salary negotiation. This will help both parties better discuss the matter and meet halfway. The HR will most likely grant this request if they have some questions in mind.
  • Gratitude and appreciation: It’s essential to thank your company for the employment opportunities because asking for a raise might give the impression that you’re unhappy with the organization. Also, show how much you appreciate them considering your request.
  • Plans and commitment: What better way to end your writing than to state your future plans for the company as an employee? More importantly, show your utmost commitment to helping the company meet its business goals or objectives.

Derek Pankaew, Founder of Listening.com, recommends reviewing, editing, and proofreading your letter or email several times.

Pankaew continues, “Asking for raises is a big deal for many employers. But for the most part, they will listen intently to what you have to say. If you put your heart and soul into this writing, they’ll think that you’re absolutely serious about negotiating for a salary increase. Otherwise, they’ll throw it in the trash bin if they think you’re wasting their time due to poor writing.”

5. Support your request with valid reasons

Finally, you’ve reached the most difficult part: explaining why you deserve a raise and supporting your claim. Keep in mind that employers have a lot of things to consider. For instance, they will only increase your salary if they see you’ve been performing well. But even if you’re a top performer, how will this impact other employees? Chances are, the rest will ask for a salary increase as well.

That said, here’s how to convince your HR or employer to kick your salary up a notch:

  • List added tasks and responsibilities. As cited, get a copy of your contract or screenshot your job description. Then, compare it with your current function by showing all the added tasks and more responsibilities.
  • Indicate your regularization or tenure. If your employer doesn’t offer an automatic salary increase during regularization or after one year, consider asking for a raise. However, show proof of regularization or indicate how long you’ve worked for the company.
  • Highlight specific achievements. It’s best to showcase your accolades and significant contributions to the organization. For example, attach all the awards or certificates you’ve received as a top performer. That might coerce HR to increase your salary.
  • Show industry standard rates. If you’ve found out that your salary is below the industry standard, get a link to some reputable sites or screenshot the average salary rate for your job. Show this to your HR or employer to let them reconsider their job offers to employees.

Tom Golubovich, Head of Marketing & Media Relations at Ninja Transfers, underscores the importance of salary appraisal for every organization. 

Golubovich believes that “Offering a salary increase, whether workers get regularized or hit their anniversary, shows how employers take good care of their employees. It’s part of promoting employee well-being in a company or organization. On the flip side, workers should live up to their expectations and show that they deserve to get a raise.”

Sample Template of a Salary Increase Request

At this point, we’ve tackled everything we need to discuss regarding writing an email or letter for a salary increase. Besides this, you can also negotiate for your benefits and other perks. For example, you can ask your employer to allow you to file a compensation claim in case of workplace injury. 

Understand that employee rights exist for companies and organizations to follow. As a worker, you must familiarize yourself with these rights and fight for them when necessary. Given all the practical advice above, here’s a sample template of a request for a salary increase:

Final Words

Negotiating for a salary increase is no longer seen as a sign of greediness in the workplace. In fact, it’s an employee right that every worker should consider exercising. So, it won’t hurt to give it a try—ask for a raise!

That said, follow our practical tips and steps recommended above. Start by assessing if it’s the right timing and whether the request reflects your worth as an employee. Once decided, you can create a winning email or letter requesting a salary increase. More importantly, back it up with valid reasons and legitimate credentials.

Remember, your employer takes time to evaluate with so many considerations in mind. So, whether the request has been approved or declined, understand that it’s still worth trying. But if you’re fortunate enough to get a raise, enjoy the salary increase you deserve and consistently deliver your best at work!

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