How To
12 min read

How to Write a Salary Increase Letter

Tiffany Ellis

October 24, 2022

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about asking for a raise, including why it should be put in writing, who to send it to, when, and what to include (or not) in your request. 

It can be difficult to ask for a salary increase no matter what your situation is. Even if you’re certain you deserve one, being able to articulate why and get that in front of someone who both cares and can do something about it isn’t easy. 

Here are some tips on what you can do to prove that you deserve an increase in pay and how to improve your chances of being successful when you ask for one. 

Why you should put a salary increase request in writing

You may be old fashioned and think that making a salary increase request in person is the best way to go, but it’s better to follow a few new guidelines on this than to rely on old traditions. If you’re not sure why going in and relying on a “handshake” with your superior is a bad idea, here’s why you should put any salary increase request in writing. 

It makes it official

There’s an old saying “if you don’t want someone to know something, don’t write it down”. Well, this applies here. If you don’t put a salary increase request in writing and deliver it via a certifiable means, you can’t prove you asked for one. 

You should always deliver salary increase requests via email at the very least, because it creates a server record of when it was sent and whether it was received. Today, you can even have “read receipts” to prove that the email was actually read.  

Not only will you have a copy of the request, but your company will, as well. This is helpful if your first request is denied and in a year, you send another with an updated list of what you have done since then to deserve a raise. 

Having a record of communication concerning your raise is also helpful, because it eliminates the excuse of “I’m working on it” or “it’ll be next month”. It makes it harder to give you the runaround on whether you’re getting one or not. 

It’s easier to request it in writing

In addition to making it more official, it can be significantly easier to speak frankly about your salary increase request in writing than it is in person. If you suffer from anxiety, writing it out will help reduce any fear of confrontation. 

Putting it in writing gives you time to break down all the reasons you believe you should get a raise and articulate them to the best of your ability. You’re less likely to leave things out and when you’re making a request like this, forgetting to include something critical is the last thing you want to do. 

Who should you send your salary request letter to?

You should send your request to whoever manages your pay. This could be anyone above you, from your direct manager to the head of your department. If you’re unsure who to request this information from, you can ask your coworkers or go to your company’s Human Resources department. 

You shouldn’t go above the person directly responsible for your pay decisions without a very good reason for doing so. This will decrease your chances of getting a raise because breaking the chain of command is unprofessional. 

When you should send a salary increase letter

You may think that sending a salary increase letter can be done at any time and even though this is true, it may not be what’s best for your chances of getting a raise. You want to do this at the most opportune time for everyone. 

Ask when your company is doing well

If you know your company has higher profits than it’s ever had, this is a good time to ask for a raise in general. There’s money to go around and if you’ve done your due diligence in your work position, there should be some additional money for you. 

But, if you know your company isn’t doing well and there are rumors of layoffs coming, you may want to hesitate in asking for a raise. It’s going to take a lot more evidence on your end to prove that you deserve a raise while the budget is getting cut elsewhere in the company. 

Best time of year to ask for a raise

One of the best times of year to ask about a raise is when your company is doing performance reviews. If your employer does this on a quarterly or yearly basis, this is a good time to bring it up because they are likely already expecting to discuss your pay. 

If your company doesn’t do formal performance reviews, there may not be a real “best time of year” and you’ll have to look for other signs that it’s a good time to bring it up. 

After completing a significant task

Were you the one burning the midnight oil to get a job done or a goal accomplished and was it done successfully? Better, was it done beyond expectations?

The best time for you professionally to ask for a raise is when you’ve accomplished something that’s important to the company and that impacts the bottom line. 

When writing out the reasons you’re asking for a raise, make sure you document what you’ve done and whether it has saved the company money or contributed to creating additional revenue. Be specific with the numbers on how much money you’ve saved (or made) the company by your accomplishments. It’s harder to say “no” when the math adds up. 

After successfully taking on additional responsibilities

Has your employer laid off other employees and pushed some of their responsibilities on you to save money? If so, this is a good time to ask for a raise, but only after you’ve successfully taken over those responsibilities. It’s even better if you do those tasks better than your predecessor because not only have you saved the company money, the job is being completed more efficiently. 

Prove that you’re capable of handling those additional responsibilities first, then ask for the raise. If you’re struggling completing those additional responsibilities, it’s going to show and asking for a raise is going to be seen as ridiculous. 

If it’s been more than a year since your last salary increase

If you haven’t had a pay increase in the last year and your performance is good, you can safely ask for one. Employers expect a salary increase about once a year, and if they’re hesitant to give you one every year, it may be time to look for another job. Be professional when you find one, though, and be sure you put in your two weeks' notice.

What should be included in a salary increase letter

When crafting your letter, there are certain things that you definitely want to include because they help your case. Below, we’ll give a list of what those things are and why you should include them. 

Begin with your letter’s purpose

You want to begin your letter by stating what the letter’s purpose is: a pay raise. This serves the purpose of getting straight to the point and not wasting the other person’s time skirting around the issue. Be sure to mention your position and how long you’ve worked there, because this sets the stage for your other talking points later in the letter. 

Your qualifications

You should also be listing what your qualifications are for the position you currently hold and include any particular skills that you have that others may not. When you list things like this, you’re increasing your value to the company by making what you’re capable of clear. 

Your accomplishments

What accomplishments have you made during your time at your company? If you’ve saved them any significant amount of money, list it and provide proof, if possible. The same is true for making the company money. If your work was instrumental in closing a contract worth a significant amount of money, list that and provide proof. Proof of this could include any company documents that show where your work was specifically mentioned as being critical to that contract’s closure, such as emails where you received praise from coworkers or superiors. 

Numbers are concrete and difficult to argue with, as are provable direct quotes from superiors and coworkers. Use them to your advantage when listing accomplishments or goals reached. 

Market price for your position in your location

When you go into a salary negotiation, you should already have researched what your position should pay in your geographical area. If you’re currently making $33,000 per year in your position, haven’t had a raise in years, and your position is now worth over $40,000 on the open market, you can bring this up. 

However, keep in mind that a normal pay raise per year is around 3% or so. For someone making $33,000 annually, this works out to around $1,650. This is historically just enough to keep up with inflation, so you may be able to ask for more depending on what you’ve done for the company lately. 

Be appreciative

In your letter, be sure to let the reader know that you appreciate their time for reading your letter and their attention to what you’ve put before them. If your request is declined, ask (again, in writing) what would be required to get a salary increase. 

What not to include in a salary increase letter

Just as important as what to include in a pay increase letter is what not to include. You just don’t want to talk about or bring up certain things, because it’s unprofessional to do so at best and none of your business at worst. 

Complaining

Don’t complain in your letter. Negativity can bleed off the page and into the attitude of whoever is reading it, so you want to stay as positive as possible. Your letter aims for you to be perceived as a confident, valuable employee, not a whiner unsatisfied because they don’t believe their work is valued highly enough. 

Neutral is also an okay tone, but negativity should be left out. Save that for a letter of resignation should you need one later. 

The company’s financial situation

You may be tempted to bring up the company’s financial situation in general, but if you’ve done nothing to significantly contribute to that or you can’t prove that you have, leave this alone.

Your personal finances

Your own personal financial situation isn’t enough to ask for a pay raise. Don’t talk about why you need a pay raise in terms of your personal financial issues; talk about why you deserve a pay raise in light of your contributions to the company and your relevant qualifications. 

Even though your own personal finances are important to you, they’re irrelevant to the company in most cases. 

Coworker salaries

Your request letter should not mention how much money your coworkers are making compared to you. It’s unprofessional and rude to discuss the finances of a coworker, especially without their express permission. 

The only exception is if you suspect illegal discrimination in pay and have proof of it, but be aware that addressing that in your letter can damage your chances of getting what you want. You’re much more likely to receive a pay raise if you mention that you’re not making the market rate for your position instead of bringing up what your coworkers get paid. 

Salary increase letter example and template

Here’s an example of a salary increase letter that you can use in your efforts. This particular example is formatted for email.

Dear [Superior’s Name],

I want to thank you for the opportunity to work with [Company] over the past [time frame]. I believe that I have accomplished much on a personal level and for the company in my time here and anticipate that my contributions to the company will only increase from here forward. 

That being said, I have recently taken on some additional responsibilities that have added to my workload and have been able to successfully complete them as requested. The tasks are as follows:

[Present list of tasks, outcome, and if possible, their perceived value to the company. Also list if you have improved the processes for getting these tasks done over your predecessor.]

In light of this, I am requesting [amount] in additional compensation per [week/month/year] for me to continue performing these duties. 

I would like to discuss this further if possible. 

I’m grateful for the increase in responsibilities, but I believe I deserve this modest increase in pay for taking care of them successfully. It has increased my confidence level in working for this company and drives me to do the best job I can do. 

Thank you once more for the opportunity to work with you. 

Sincerely,

[Your name]

[Your position]

Conclusion

When you go to ask for a raise, it’s important to keep in mind the proper etiquette for doing so and adhere to it. Being rude, asking out of place, or asking too early in your role within the company can backfire and cause you to be perceived as entitled. We hope this article has helped you in determining whether it’s a good time to ask for a raise and if it is, how to do so with the best possibility of success.

Whether you need help with writing this letter or any other type of communication, Copy.ai has plenty of email templates and other resources available for you to use. Sign up for our free 7 day trial (no credit card required) or use one of our many free AI writing tools available.

How To
12 min read

How to Write a Salary Increase Letter

Tiffany Ellis
October 24, 2022

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about asking for a raise, including why it should be put in writing, who to send it to, when, and what to include (or not) in your request. 

It can be difficult to ask for a salary increase no matter what your situation is. Even if you’re certain you deserve one, being able to articulate why and get that in front of someone who both cares and can do something about it isn’t easy. 

Here are some tips on what you can do to prove that you deserve an increase in pay and how to improve your chances of being successful when you ask for one. 

Why you should put a salary increase request in writing

You may be old fashioned and think that making a salary increase request in person is the best way to go, but it’s better to follow a few new guidelines on this than to rely on old traditions. If you’re not sure why going in and relying on a “handshake” with your superior is a bad idea, here’s why you should put any salary increase request in writing. 

It makes it official

There’s an old saying “if you don’t want someone to know something, don’t write it down”. Well, this applies here. If you don’t put a salary increase request in writing and deliver it via a certifiable means, you can’t prove you asked for one. 

You should always deliver salary increase requests via email at the very least, because it creates a server record of when it was sent and whether it was received. Today, you can even have “read receipts” to prove that the email was actually read.  

Not only will you have a copy of the request, but your company will, as well. This is helpful if your first request is denied and in a year, you send another with an updated list of what you have done since then to deserve a raise. 

Having a record of communication concerning your raise is also helpful, because it eliminates the excuse of “I’m working on it” or “it’ll be next month”. It makes it harder to give you the runaround on whether you’re getting one or not. 

It’s easier to request it in writing

In addition to making it more official, it can be significantly easier to speak frankly about your salary increase request in writing than it is in person. If you suffer from anxiety, writing it out will help reduce any fear of confrontation. 

Putting it in writing gives you time to break down all the reasons you believe you should get a raise and articulate them to the best of your ability. You’re less likely to leave things out and when you’re making a request like this, forgetting to include something critical is the last thing you want to do. 

Who should you send your salary request letter to?

You should send your request to whoever manages your pay. This could be anyone above you, from your direct manager to the head of your department. If you’re unsure who to request this information from, you can ask your coworkers or go to your company’s Human Resources department. 

You shouldn’t go above the person directly responsible for your pay decisions without a very good reason for doing so. This will decrease your chances of getting a raise because breaking the chain of command is unprofessional. 

When you should send a salary increase letter

You may think that sending a salary increase letter can be done at any time and even though this is true, it may not be what’s best for your chances of getting a raise. You want to do this at the most opportune time for everyone. 

Ask when your company is doing well

If you know your company has higher profits than it’s ever had, this is a good time to ask for a raise in general. There’s money to go around and if you’ve done your due diligence in your work position, there should be some additional money for you. 

But, if you know your company isn’t doing well and there are rumors of layoffs coming, you may want to hesitate in asking for a raise. It’s going to take a lot more evidence on your end to prove that you deserve a raise while the budget is getting cut elsewhere in the company. 

Best time of year to ask for a raise

One of the best times of year to ask about a raise is when your company is doing performance reviews. If your employer does this on a quarterly or yearly basis, this is a good time to bring it up because they are likely already expecting to discuss your pay. 

If your company doesn’t do formal performance reviews, there may not be a real “best time of year” and you’ll have to look for other signs that it’s a good time to bring it up. 

After completing a significant task

Were you the one burning the midnight oil to get a job done or a goal accomplished and was it done successfully? Better, was it done beyond expectations?

The best time for you professionally to ask for a raise is when you’ve accomplished something that’s important to the company and that impacts the bottom line. 

When writing out the reasons you’re asking for a raise, make sure you document what you’ve done and whether it has saved the company money or contributed to creating additional revenue. Be specific with the numbers on how much money you’ve saved (or made) the company by your accomplishments. It’s harder to say “no” when the math adds up. 

After successfully taking on additional responsibilities

Has your employer laid off other employees and pushed some of their responsibilities on you to save money? If so, this is a good time to ask for a raise, but only after you’ve successfully taken over those responsibilities. It’s even better if you do those tasks better than your predecessor because not only have you saved the company money, the job is being completed more efficiently. 

Prove that you’re capable of handling those additional responsibilities first, then ask for the raise. If you’re struggling completing those additional responsibilities, it’s going to show and asking for a raise is going to be seen as ridiculous. 

If it’s been more than a year since your last salary increase

If you haven’t had a pay increase in the last year and your performance is good, you can safely ask for one. Employers expect a salary increase about once a year, and if they’re hesitant to give you one every year, it may be time to look for another job. Be professional when you find one, though, and be sure you put in your two weeks' notice.

What should be included in a salary increase letter

When crafting your letter, there are certain things that you definitely want to include because they help your case. Below, we’ll give a list of what those things are and why you should include them. 

Begin with your letter’s purpose

You want to begin your letter by stating what the letter’s purpose is: a pay raise. This serves the purpose of getting straight to the point and not wasting the other person’s time skirting around the issue. Be sure to mention your position and how long you’ve worked there, because this sets the stage for your other talking points later in the letter. 

Your qualifications

You should also be listing what your qualifications are for the position you currently hold and include any particular skills that you have that others may not. When you list things like this, you’re increasing your value to the company by making what you’re capable of clear. 

Your accomplishments

What accomplishments have you made during your time at your company? If you’ve saved them any significant amount of money, list it and provide proof, if possible. The same is true for making the company money. If your work was instrumental in closing a contract worth a significant amount of money, list that and provide proof. Proof of this could include any company documents that show where your work was specifically mentioned as being critical to that contract’s closure, such as emails where you received praise from coworkers or superiors. 

Numbers are concrete and difficult to argue with, as are provable direct quotes from superiors and coworkers. Use them to your advantage when listing accomplishments or goals reached. 

Market price for your position in your location

When you go into a salary negotiation, you should already have researched what your position should pay in your geographical area. If you’re currently making $33,000 per year in your position, haven’t had a raise in years, and your position is now worth over $40,000 on the open market, you can bring this up. 

However, keep in mind that a normal pay raise per year is around 3% or so. For someone making $33,000 annually, this works out to around $1,650. This is historically just enough to keep up with inflation, so you may be able to ask for more depending on what you’ve done for the company lately. 

Be appreciative

In your letter, be sure to let the reader know that you appreciate their time for reading your letter and their attention to what you’ve put before them. If your request is declined, ask (again, in writing) what would be required to get a salary increase. 

What not to include in a salary increase letter

Just as important as what to include in a pay increase letter is what not to include. You just don’t want to talk about or bring up certain things, because it’s unprofessional to do so at best and none of your business at worst. 

Complaining

Don’t complain in your letter. Negativity can bleed off the page and into the attitude of whoever is reading it, so you want to stay as positive as possible. Your letter aims for you to be perceived as a confident, valuable employee, not a whiner unsatisfied because they don’t believe their work is valued highly enough. 

Neutral is also an okay tone, but negativity should be left out. Save that for a letter of resignation should you need one later. 

The company’s financial situation

You may be tempted to bring up the company’s financial situation in general, but if you’ve done nothing to significantly contribute to that or you can’t prove that you have, leave this alone.

Your personal finances

Your own personal financial situation isn’t enough to ask for a pay raise. Don’t talk about why you need a pay raise in terms of your personal financial issues; talk about why you deserve a pay raise in light of your contributions to the company and your relevant qualifications. 

Even though your own personal finances are important to you, they’re irrelevant to the company in most cases. 

Coworker salaries

Your request letter should not mention how much money your coworkers are making compared to you. It’s unprofessional and rude to discuss the finances of a coworker, especially without their express permission. 

The only exception is if you suspect illegal discrimination in pay and have proof of it, but be aware that addressing that in your letter can damage your chances of getting what you want. You’re much more likely to receive a pay raise if you mention that you’re not making the market rate for your position instead of bringing up what your coworkers get paid. 

Salary increase letter example and template

Here’s an example of a salary increase letter that you can use in your efforts. This particular example is formatted for email.

Dear [Superior’s Name],

I want to thank you for the opportunity to work with [Company] over the past [time frame]. I believe that I have accomplished much on a personal level and for the company in my time here and anticipate that my contributions to the company will only increase from here forward. 

That being said, I have recently taken on some additional responsibilities that have added to my workload and have been able to successfully complete them as requested. The tasks are as follows:

[Present list of tasks, outcome, and if possible, their perceived value to the company. Also list if you have improved the processes for getting these tasks done over your predecessor.]

In light of this, I am requesting [amount] in additional compensation per [week/month/year] for me to continue performing these duties. 

I would like to discuss this further if possible. 

I’m grateful for the increase in responsibilities, but I believe I deserve this modest increase in pay for taking care of them successfully. It has increased my confidence level in working for this company and drives me to do the best job I can do. 

Thank you once more for the opportunity to work with you. 

Sincerely,

[Your name]

[Your position]

Conclusion

When you go to ask for a raise, it’s important to keep in mind the proper etiquette for doing so and adhere to it. Being rude, asking out of place, or asking too early in your role within the company can backfire and cause you to be perceived as entitled. We hope this article has helped you in determining whether it’s a good time to ask for a raise and if it is, how to do so with the best possibility of success.

Whether you need help with writing this letter or any other type of communication, Copy.ai has plenty of email templates and other resources available for you to use. Sign up for our free 7 day trial (no credit card required) or use one of our many free AI writing tools available.

Want to learn how to start or grow your business?
Get started - It’s Free

Ready to level-up?

Write 10x faster, engage your audience, & never struggle with the blank page again.

Get Started for Free
No credit card required
7-day trial of Pro
90+ content types to explore