How to Write a Letter Requesting a Raise in Salary

Krupp K5 (E)


dead end job, you should have a good chance of getting a raise if you’ve been doing a good job.

Jane is an administrative assistant who has been working towards a raise for the past year. In her current position, Jane is one of a group of clerical persons with the responsibility to provide clerical functions for a team of engineers. Jane has exceeded expectation in her position and she seeks a raise to the next level of administrative duties. In order to advance to next level and get a raise, she must be able to perform administrative functions for the team leader. In addition, she must be able to perform administrative duties for the team of engineers when the workload requires her to. She has read and studied the performance criteria for the new job and has voluntarily performed most of the types of functions required for a raise. Since she has never been offered a raise, she has decided to initiate a request for a raise and submit a Letter Requesting a Raise.

First Things First
The first thing you need to do if you want a raise is to get a copy of the job description for the position you are seeking a raise for. Secondly, create a list of the requirements for the position and then create a listing of those things that you have done to meet or exceed those requirements. This listing will serve as the basis for your letter requesting a raise to your supervisor.

Sample Job Description

In making a request for a raise, you should structure your letter such that it demands a response to your request without being too demanding. Not only should you seek a response to your letter, you should give the recipient enough time to respond in a timely manner. You need to make sure that you give the recipient time to respond even if your letter sits on his or her desk for a day or two. Be sure to date your letter and make sure that the date corresponds to the date that you actually put your letter in the hands of the person who should be receiving it. You increase your chances of receiving a timely response if you provide the initial date of reference.

What’s in a Name?
You should address your letter to the manager who is responsible to offer you a raise or recommend a raise on your behalf. Be sure to address the recipient with the appropriate prefix to his or her name. You don’t want to be on a first name basis because you need to treat your letter as the business correspondence that it is intended to be. If the recipient holds a professional title, such as with a doctor, then address the letter to “Dr. Brown”. If she is married, then address the letter to “Mrs. Brown”, not “Miss Brown” or “Ms. Brown”. This respectfully lets the reader know that you are aware of whom you’re talking to. Make sure to use an equally respectful salutation, such as, “Dear Mr. Brown”. This type of letter is not to be confused with the casualness of a text message or e-mail. A greeting such as, “To whom it may concern” or simply “Hello”, is too casual and may be considered unprofessional by some. Certainly, a letter with no greeting will be considered rude and disrespectful.

What’s Your Point?
In business, managers have lots of responsibility and lots of correspondence to sort through. You need to make your point obvious from the beginning of the letter. After a proper greeting is documented, you should immediately state your reason for addressing your letter to the recipient. In this case, you need to indicate that you are “requesting a raise” or “making a request for additional information needed for a raise” in the very first sentence. You don’t want to confuse the situation by forcing the recipient to read through all of your accomplishments before you explain why there is a need to know such information. After the intent of the letter is clearly stated, you may begin to explain why you are a credible candidate for an increase in salary.

Why Choose You?
Let your supervisor know that you are aware of the requirements for a raise and that you have meet those requirements by outlining the accomplishments you have made and aligning them to the job description of the job you are seeking to advance in. If the job description requires the ability to communicate effectively, for example, you need to indicate not just who you communicated with, but also how your communication with a certain individual or group of individuals led to some action or clarified some issue of importance.

When outlining the things you have done, give an indication of how many times or how long you have done it. Indicate the services that you are able to provide and also with whom you provided services in the past. Indicate your ability to meet and exceed deadlines. Indicate the times you were recognized for your efforts, particularly when the recognition came from someone high in authority. Show that you can adapt to different techniques and situations. If your responsibilities, thus far, have been in creating form letters, but you also have experience with design and layout for web pages, you need to document that additional experience. Your experiences outside of your current job count too, and they may be just the types of skills that the company is seeking. If you have been called upon to assist with or take over the work of others, then include that information without offending your coworkers. You can speak about how you stepped in to mange the XYZ project without mentioning the names of persons who were supposed to take on the responsibility for the project. Remember, this all about you and not others. If there is someone at the level that you are seeking who has had to call upon you to assist him or her, you may mention that person by name.

Demand a Response
Presume that your letter was read, and the manager was impressed. Demand a response within a specific time frame without being too pushy. You could simply state, “I look forward to hearing from you”. Let your final valediction indicate your confidence in getting the raise. You could say, “Thank you in advance”.

A Letter is Not a Report or Resume
You want to present the recipient with a brief Letter Requesting a Raise, not a short report. Typically, you want to include all information on a single page. If you find that you have included enough information to fill more than one page, you need to downsize the letter. If you present a short report, you will likely be ignored simply because you provided too much information. If you should go over a single page by a few lines, then print the information on the back of the page rather than provide a two page document. Typically, a letter is printed in 12 pt font, however, you can always change to 11 pt since it provides you with a little more space without being too small. You may also include a table or bullet points to outline your experiences if it helps to make your letter easier to read. However, you do not want to fill an entire page that way. You may want to limit the number of table rows or bullet points to no more than five. You want the look and fill of a letter, not a resume. Be sure to leave room at the bottom of your letter to sign your name. Sign the letter in ink using your own handwriting rather than a cursive type of generated font.

Photo provided by: LegoIiner PiIot / CC BY-ND

About Paul Chittenden

JobKaster Co-Founder & Resident Career Expert

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