Whether you deserve a raise or not, of course, you probably think you do! However, you can easily sabotage additional earnings at your place of employment without thinking prior to opening your mouth, or taking to the pen, when asking your company to “show you the money!”
Here are 15 tips to consider when submitting your request for a pay increase:
1. Put it in writing.
Find an existing letter-writing template and personalize it. You can even find one specific to a raise request.
2. Address the letter to your hiring manager.
3. Edit your letter prior to submission.
A professionally written letter will grab the attention of your boss better than a text message or email — period. Earning more money is serious for any place of employment, so write a serious letter. (You can always attach it in an email!) Consider having someone read it over and provide feedback when you’re done.
4. Start your letter with a statement of support for the company and its overall mission and vision.
5. State how long you’ve worked there and why you enjoy your job.
6. Mention your desire to stay with the company longer-term to carry out its current and future goals.
Employee turnover is costly for employers. Express your loyalty to the company and desire to stay in your current position. This will better justify paying you more (or perhaps, promoting you) instead of the company having to spend countless dollars (and hours) on additional recruiting costs.
7. Write down the various ways you, specifically, increase revenue for the company.
Whether it’s your fabulous customer service skills that lead to word-of-mouth referrals, or your 10% increase in sales since your date of hire; let the company know how you make them money! Providing data shows your boss you’ve earned it.
8. Jot down several ways you go above and beyond the call of duty.
Remind your employer of times you’ve stepped up to the plate without being asked, helped cross-train another staff member, or received “Employee of the Month” as voted by fellow staff to show how you contribute to the positive, uplifting culture of the organization.
9. Research the going rate for your position and compare to other, similar positions and/or companies. (Know your value!)
10. Ask if the company has a pay increase structure or salary scale already in place.
11. Request a specific amount based on your findings.
Asking for a rate of pay that is out of your league can do you a disservice since it may take away from a productive negotiation. Instead, figure out how much more you can realistically earn in your position, compare to what you want to earn, and find a middle-to-high ground as the base of your request. This way both you and your employer have some room to play with the figures.
12. If you’ve earned new certification or advanced your degree, mention it.
Discuss how your educational background will help you better fulfill your job responsibilities. Tie in ways you will be able to complete tasks more effectively and efficiently because of your educational advancements.
13. Be sure your letter is about you, ONLY.
While you may work with multiple employees and feel the urge to compare yourself to others, don’t. A request for a raise should only be about you. Avoid discussing other positions at all, but if they happen to be relevant to a specific task, use job titles without naming names.
14. Write objectively, leaving negative emotions out of your letter.
It can be frustrating when you don’t feel valued and appreciated, or find out someone else in your position is being paid more than you are. However, writing an angry or threatening letter can have adverse effects when asking for a raise. Therefore, write your request at a time when you can do so matter-of-factly. Let your words sit for a while and come back to edit them later. Keep details factual and concise.
15. Give a timeframe for when you expect your rate increase to take effect and ask for a reply in writing.
Timeframes may include the end of a quarter or year, on your work anniversary, or upon assignment of a new task. While you may receive a verbal response first, be sure to document the approval or denial of your request for future reference. This is especially important if your boss were to leave his or her position — you would want an approval to carry over. If denied, perhaps another employee would reconsider.
Remember that even the best-written letter won’t help much if your actual work performance is suffering. Before putting in the time to write a professional letter requesting a raise, be sure you’re putting forth the effort on the job. To you it’s only $0.50 more per hour, but your employer knows it as $1,000 per year! Make sure you’re worth every penny.
Caroline is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. Apply to become a Contributing Writer by clicking HERE