How to Ask for a Raise in Writing

All employees need to know how to ask for a raise in writing. It is essential that one should know how to advocate for oneself by asking for proper compensation if you feel like you deserve it. Doing so empowers employees to have some control over their job conditions and allows employers to know how their workers think about their salaries.

Why do it in writing?

One likely reason why someone would want to know how to ask for a raise in writing is that it somehow eliminates the need for awkward conversations about salary increments. It can be difficult for someone to have to implore their boss to consider upping their pay. However, there are other far more essential advantages written pay raise requests can give you.

  • It helps you organize your thoughts for when you have a face-to-face conversation about pay. Having a written request on hand allows you to pen down all of your key points so that you don’t miss anything essential and so that you are prepared to answer any questions your boss might have about the subject of a raise.
  • It will serve as your documentation. Verbal requests can easily get forgotten. If you have a written request (either in paper or electronic format), you have proof that you can use to follow up with higher management.
  • It makes things more official. Written requests are taken more seriously since your manager can clearly evaluate your key points to consider your request.

Learn more about business communication skills with this online course, and check out our email etiquette lessons here

Steps in asking for a raise

Asking for a raise is not as simple as writing a request and submitting it to your unsuspecting manager. It has a few intricacies that you have to observe in order for your request to come through. If you feel lost and don’t know where to start, below are some of the main steps you can follow in asking for a raise. 

Do your research

Before thinking of a number (in dollar amount or in percentage), you need to do your research first. Try to consult a salary guide to learn how much similar positions earn within your state. Making comparisons with such resources lets you gauge whether or not your request is reasonable enough to be considered. 

Another thing you have to consider is the financial situation of your company. Take, for example, the economic toll that Covid-19 brought about for many businesses. If your company is struggling to keep afloat amidst external challenges, it may not be the best time to ask for a raise. You might have to wait things out until the situation improves.

Under more normal circumstances, also try to consider whether your company has scheduled pay raises. Some companies offer salary increments after performance reviews. You may have to time your request with your scheduled evaluation.

Write your request

After doing your research and getting all the information you need, it’s time to pen down your request. To properly ask for a raise in writing, you need to include the following information in the right format:


This is the overview of your request. You don’t have to write personal reasons why you need the raise. Also, do not ever include the salary details of your coworkers, should you know them. Remain focused on your agenda and specify your exact expectations in the introduction.


Your body should include all your main points that justify the raise that you specified in the introduction. The best things to include are all of your accomplishments and accolades. If you can, list your achievements in bullet points so that they are easier to scan through. 

It is important to be as specific as you can be when enumerating the things you were able to contribute to the organization. For example, instead of saying “I helped increase company revenue in 2018,” write down, “I helped increase sales by 35% between 2018 to 2019, leading to an additional $500,000 revenue contribution on top of our 2019 target.”

Final word

In your final paragraph, reiterate your request to include the amount or percentage of increase you wish to receive. This conclusion should consist of the gist of your request just in case the reader is in a hurry, so it should be no more than two or three sentences. Lastly, do not forget to express your gratitude and appreciation to your manager for considering your request.

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Do it in person first

Before you hit “send” or submit that sheet, give your boss a little heads-up, so they don’t get confronted bluntly by your request letter. 

Set an appointment

You can send a short but polite email, text message, or even just a quick verbal word asking for a meeting to discuss your compensation. It can be as simple as saying, “Hi, are you available next week for a quick meeting? I’d like to have a brief discussion about my compensation.”

You can then specify available dates for them to choose from. If you have a manager 1-on-1 or evaluation upcoming, you can also request a few minutes of your discussion to talk about compensation. 

During the appointment

During the appointment, it is important to adopt a positive attitude and set an optimistic vibe. Be confident about your request, especially if you’ve done your homework, and enumerate your critical points in the letter you’ve previously prepared.

Remember to act gracious and thankful for the opportunity to talk about the raise and for the job opportunity your company has given you. This is a professional manner to behave, especially if you are attempting to ask for more.

Finally, be upbeat and enthusiastic about the future. If you are asking for a raise, your managers will want to feel that you have plans on making that raise worth the investment. You should at least express the desire for self-improvement so that you can be a more productive member of the organization.

Submit your request and follow up

After your conversation, you may now submit the request you’ve previously prepared, and you can expect the waiting game to commence. It is likely that although getting a raise is your top concern, your manager may have other problems to deal with. That is why it is important to follow up after a few days through email.

What if you get rejected?

Not all raise proposals get approved. It’s okay to express your disappointment (in a professional manner), but you don’t necessarily have to back down entirely. Ask your manager what you need to do to help strengthen your case for a future pay raise request, and inform them that you will be revisiting your appeal once more in the future.

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