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  1. Blog
  2. Salary
  3. July 29, 2019 (Updated November 30, 2021)

A Quick & Dirty Guide to Asking for a Raise in Writing

Walk away with a fatter paycheck

how to ask for a raise in writing image

A Glassdoor survey in June 2021 showed that 66% of surveyed women were making the same salary as before the pandemic hit U.S. workplaces, in March 2020. That means they might be missing out on money they’ve earned.

It’s time we change that.

It’s typical for women to be less likely to ask for a raise than men. The same Glassdoor survey reported that only 48% of surveyed women planned to ask for a raise in the next 12 months, compared to 59% of men. Yet we know that in many cases, we’ve been working harder, in less than desirable conditions, and with the new skills involved in remote work, since the pandemic began. 

No matter when or how you ask for a raise, it’s a good idea to accompany your conversation with a written raise request letter that makes it clear how much you’re asking for and the reason you’re qualified to ask.

Wait, so I can just write a raise request letter and send it to my boss? 

Not quite. Even if you work remotely or don’t work in the same location as your boss, the raise request letter should always be accompanied by a verbal conversation, whether by phone, Skype, or in person.

Here are a few ways you can set up that conversation:

  • Before your next 1:1 meeting with your boss, send them a note saying that you’d like to discuss your salary and compensation in your next meeting.

  • If you don’t have regular 1:1 time with your boss, set up a meeting and let them know what it’s about: I’d like to meet with you next Wednesday to discuss my salary.

  • If you work remotely, set up a phone call or Skype meeting to discuss.

If you’re able to meet your boss in person, bring a printed copy of your letter asking for a raise. If you’re making the raise request remotely, send the letter via email an hour or so before the meeting. Include a note that says you plan to discuss it on the call.

Read more: 6 Badass Ways Women Have Asked for a Raise

Example of asking for a raise in a letter or email

Here's a sample of how you can ask for a raise in a letter, or email. Notice how this raise request gets right to the point, then supports the request with specific accomplishments. 

Dear Sabina,

I am writing to request an increase 8 percent to my base salary. In my time in product management at Super Product Management, Inc., I have advanced from a junior product manager to product manager, and expanded my responsibilities to include both client support and reporting.

In the last year, I have achieved:

-Positive performance reviews over the last four quarters.

-A reputation among my peers and solid and dependable, the point-person for troubleshooting within Product X.

-A client satisfaction rating increase of 20 percent since I took over Product X.

-Implementation of four new UX improvements that have resulted in 90 percent satisfaction scores from users.

Additionally:

-Because I hope to one day oversee my own team, I have participated in three company-run trainings on team management.

-I have also asked for cross-training initiatives to increase my understanding of products across the business.

An 8 percent increase to my current salary of $50,000 would place me at $54,000, which I believe is commensurate with my experience and contributions to Super Product Management.

I appreciate very much your time in responding to this request.

Thank you in advance,

Nicola Swarthburne

Tips to use when asking for a raise in a letter or email

You can use the example above to start writing out your own request for a raise, but you'll likely want to make some adjustments depending on your specific situation. Here are some things to consider as you write: 

  • Consider how formal your workplace is: More formal workplaces will require a formal letter format that includes addresses and contact information and addresses your manager more formally, i.e., Dear Ms. Sabina Ross.

  • Use numbers: Always support your raise request with as many numbers as possible. Increases in output, improved results, increased efficiency, higher scores, etc.

  • Research your number: Sites like PayScale can give you a sense of what others with similar education, experience, and responsibilities are earning. But, know that you can always ask for more than a middling figure. It’s all about how you back it up.

  • Practice first: Ask a friend to help you practice your request on the phone, via Skype, or in person—however you will be discussing your raise. You can write your letter asking for a raise first and use it as a guide to what you say, or use the practice conversation as inspiration for crafting a stronger letter.

  • Make it only about you: As tempting as it may be to point out how much more successful you are than your peers, when you’re requesting a raise, the support you provide should be only about your accomplishments.

  • Be ready to discuss: Your manager may be ready to give you a raise right there, but they might also want to negotiate the terms of your raise. If they can’t offer cash, then perhaps flexible work hours , more paid time off , or the ability to work from home . If that’s the case, we have a guide for you: Never Say...When Negotiating a Raise .

What to do if your raise request gets a "no" 

It’s crushing to get a rejection to such a big question, but don’t lose focus in the moment. Stay professional, and ask if there’s anything you could do to work toward a raise. It’s a great time to get specific feedback from your boss about how things are going – even get into your future. Or ask if there’s a better time to talk about salary – maybe there’s a budget or company structure conversation coming up that you weren’t aware of. 

If the response is in writing, ask to meet face to face - that's usually a better way to have a serious talk with your boss. It also shows your seriousness in the request and in your future at the company. 

If you don't get the compensation you feel you deserve, of course it's acceptable to look at other companies and positions that can give you what you're looking for. You work hard and deserve to be rewarded for that. To get you started, here are 30 jobs that pay well that could be a good fit for you. 

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Photo of Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza

Emily was previously on staff at InHerSight, where she researched and wrote about data that described women in the workplace, specifically societal barriers to advancement, and workplace rights. Her bylines include Fast Company and The Glossary Co.

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