How to write a letter asking for a salary raise

Written by tia benjamin
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If you've been on the job for a while but haven't seen any increase to your salary despite your many accomplishments, it might be time to consider asking for a raise. Your salary negotiations should focus on the positive contributions you have made to the company and the significant accomplishments and responsibilities you have taken on since your last raise. If you typically have trouble remembering all the details in a face-to-face meeting, a letter requesting a salary negotiations meeting -- or summarising a meeting you have already had -- and describing your accomplishments is a good approach.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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    Assess the company's current situation to determine if this is the right time to ask for a raise. Review the current economic climate and the company's financial status. If the outlook is bad, and the company has not been giving raises, consider asking for other types of compensation -- enhanced benefits such as increased vacation, for example -- which might be more feasible, or defer your request until the company is more profitable.

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    Begin the letter with traditional salutations such as "Dear [Boss' Name]," and include the date in the letter. However, if you are summarizing discussions of a salary increase that you have already had, a memo style letter is also appropriate. Get to the point quickly, and state up front -- within the first few sentences -- that you are writing to request a salary increase.

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    List your major accomplishments since the last salary increase, and include a description of any extra responsibilities you have taken on. Show your value to the organisation by including information on the ways you plan to add value in the coming months.

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    Review the market conditions and determine how your salary compares to the market average. Determine whether you could easily obtain a job at another company for more money, or if you have unique skills and abilities that increase your worth to the organisation. If so, you are in a position of strength when it comes to salary negotiations and should consider alluding to some of these details in your letter. For example: "In the local market, comparable positions pay £48,750 annually for entry level positions. This is approximately 10 per cent more than I currently earn, and I have five years of progressively responsible experience."

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    Ask for a meeting to discuss your salary request in more detail. If you have already had this meeting, thank your boss for taking the time to meet with you and for his consideration of the additional information you are providing. Ask if there is any additional information the boss needs to make a decision, then end the letter by saying "thanks in advance."

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid entitlement. Your letter should be humble and respectful. There are no guarantees and you should never "demand" a pay raise -- this approach could backfire.
  • Allow time for your boss to review the letter -- and possibly even gather additional information, such as about the local job market -- before you follow up on the status. Recognise that while a pay raise might be of great significance to you, it likely is not a top priority for your boss.
  • Don't focus on what you need. Your pay is determined by your worth to the company and its business goals -- not the fact that you're expecting a baby or just bought a house.

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