How to Write a Salary Increase Letter in the Digital Age

Of all the treacherous workplace issues an employee must navigate, requesting a salary increase may be the most fraught. If you don’t get it right the first time, there may not be another chance for a long time. A botched, frivolous or flimsy request could negatively affect your standing with colleagues and supervisor. @@In some cases, your job could even be thrown into jeopardy.@@

Like any successful business endeavor, for a salary request to be met with open ears, it’s vital to nail the timing, approach, and execution. Have you been at your company for a reasonable length of time, and added tangible value to the organization? Are you approaching this request with the professionalism and sincerity it deserves? Finally, can you demonstrate, in as concise, powerful and evidentiary language as possible, that you have earned this raise?

If you have answered yes to those questions, consider these options for attaining a salary increase.

Salary Increase Letter

Take a spin through human resources outlets online and you may be surprised to find that the salary increase letter remains, largely, the industry standard for these types of requests. This may be hard to believe, in the age of Gchat, Hangouts and Slack, but there is something to be said for the formal air created with a hard-copy letter landing on your supervisor’s desk.

If you do choose the salary increase letter route, there are a few important points to keep in mind. First, be certain you adopt a formal tone. Just as you would on a cover letter or resume, include your and your employer’s contact information at the top of the page, even if you sit just a few desks away from the boss. This sets a tone for the rest of the letter. Is as brief and professional language as possible, show your enthusiasm for the job.

Next, give evidence of specific accomplishments, like new responsibilities assumed that demonstrate how you added value to the company by going beyond your normal responsibilities. A powerful presentation includes facts, statistics and milestones. For example, you could write, "I voluntarily developed and led the innovation project team that produced $100,000 in cost reductions."

Schedule a Meeting

@@In many young startups and small companies, a salary increase letter may read as overly formal.@@ If you are averse to that strategy, consider scheduling a meeting with your boss to discuss your salary. Include the reason for meeting ahead of time, to give your supervisor time to prepare.

Do not shoehorn your request into a meeting about something else, ask for a raise over lunch or in an unrelated Slack chat; your boss will likely discount your request. If you don’t take it seriously, he or she certainly won’t. Approach this meeting in much the same way you would a letter. Come armed with compliments about the company and the nature of your work, evidence of your accomplishments, and specific salary requests along with why you deserve them. Dress well but be comfortable -- after all, you have earned this raise.

This kind of interaction can also be conducive to negotiation. Whereas a letter outlining salary demands might come across as concrete, negotiations across a conference room table can often produce the best outcome for both employee and supervisor. Perhaps in lieu of more money, the supervisor will offer the ability to work from home, better benefits coverage or more paid vacation time.