Studies have shown that employees find it difficult to ask for a raise at work. This can be attributed to cultural sentiments about money, or because it makes them uncomfortable, they’re nervous, or they don’t want to seem too pushy.
Suppose you have been doing more than your scope of work, showing initiative, developing new skills, mentoring other employees, and, most importantly, contributing to the company’s success. In that case, you have great grounds to ask for a raise.
This article will guide you on how to ask for a raise like a pro. You’ll also be provided with examples of emails on how to get the conversation started with your HR or line manager.
Let’s dive right in. Here are a couple of things you should do when asking for a raise:
1. Do your research: It is important to meet with your boss or HR manager with the right information and data to back up your request. Consult salary guides like Glassdoor and reach out to others who occupy the same role or work in the same industry as yours to get their salary range. You must demonstrate to your boss that real data back your salary request instead of just your appraisal.2. Pick the right time: Timing is important in making a request as important as this. Does your company have a policy of granting pay raises only during performance review periods? Check your employee handbook for guidelines. Consider also whether your organization has had recent layoffs or a hiring freeze. If you bring up your pay when your company has just laid off employees or is seeing reduced revenues, your appeal will likely go nowhere fast, regardless of how amazing you are.
3. Set the stage for a conversation and make the request: Send an email to your line manager or HR manager (as the case may be for your company) stating your request to meet with them to review your salary. If your boss hears you want more money, set the stage appropriately if this is the first time. If you have a performance review coming up, it’s a good idea to ask ahead of time if it would be okay to discuss your compensation during the performance review. Remember to thank your manager for supporting you in your role and considering your request. After you hit send, be patient. Your manager may need to talk to a higher-up or HR before getting back to you.
Furthermore, there are some things to stay clear of when asking for a raise. Some of these include:
What to say instead: “An exact salary range”. ✅
Too often, negotiators freeze when naming their requests. They shy away from specifics and make open-ended statements like “I want more money.” The best way to get what you want is to say what you want. People hesitate because they’re worried they’ll either aim too high or undersell themselves by aiming too low. You have researched and have an idea of what range to ask for. Don’t be afraid to state exactly what you want.
2. “I think I deserve this because…’❌
What to say instead: “I deserve this because…” ✅
Great negotiators don’t think they know. They are confident about how much value they bring to the organization and aren’t afraid to articulate it. Bring those emails or performance review notes to the negotiation conversation if you’ve gotten praise from co-workers, managers, or supervisors. Adding these objective opinions will make your case even more compelling. Remember to speak about your contributions in specific terms like revenue increases or successful projects you worked on.
3. ‘I was hoping for…’❌
What to say instead: “Based on how my experience is valued in the market and this organization, I would expect…” ✅
Using aspirational words like “hope” makes it sound like you were never actually expecting to receive the salary increase you’re asking for. If you’ve prepared appropriately, you know your number is reasonable, so act like it. When you frame your expectation as an objective fact, it will come across as more rational and difficult to reject.
4. ‘I’m going to have to go to the competition…’❌
What to say instead: “I’ve received other offers, but I’m more interested in making this position sustainable.” ✅
Threatening to quit is a dangerous game. Your boss may ask you to pack up your things and leave. Other job offers can be used as leverage, but they have to be managed carefully. Instead, mention that you’ve been getting calls from the competition but are more interested in making your current position work. This is a more effective and collaborative way to use your leverage; it keeps the situation positive while adding the subtext that they will have to be competitive to keep you.
What to say instead: “When can we pick up this conversation again?” ✅
Not every negotiation will get resolved seamlessly. Occasionally, you’ll get a no. But that’s not the end of the negotiation — it’s just the start. It may take a little longer to get what you want if you’re interested in staying at the company. The key is to ask questions: If they say “Not now,” ask “When?” If they say, “You need some more experience,” ask, “What does that experience look like to you?” Agree on specific milestones, so you’re not guessing when you’ll pick up the conversation again. If your boss is avoiding answers, you might consider looking for a new job where you’ll be valued.
Above all, remember that you’re having this conversation because your organization needs you. Arming yourself with that confidence can make all the difference. Find below samples of email templates that you can send to your HR manager to kickstart the salary raise conversation:
SAMPLE 1Dear ABC, As my X-year anniversary gets close, I would like to request a review of my (job title) salary. During my time at (name of company), I have taken on additional responsibilities and have achieved success in several areas. I’ve made a brief list of just some of my accomplishments and responsibilities, which include the following: Taking the lead on …
Meeting goals in …
Improving efficiencies led to savings of $X for the company …
Achieving success in …
Adding to my (skill level or education related to the job) …
Aside from my X skills in this role, I have also demonstrated excellent X abilities and proficiency with X. The team can count on me for X. Given the added value I have brought to the company, I would like to request a bump in pay. Based on the Robert Half Salary Guide research, I’ve found that the midpoint salary (or median national salary) for this position is $X for my experience level. Considering regional variances, an X percent raise would put my compensation closer to those salary benchmarks. Thank you for your consideration. I would happily meet with you to discuss my request and the company’s needs. Sincerely, Name
SAMPLE 2Dear XYZ, I have greatly enjoyed working at XYZ Sales Company for the past three years. In those years, I have become an integral sales team member and have developed innovative ways to contribute to the company. For example, in the past year alone, I have achieved the following goals:
• Highest-ranking salesperson in customer satisfaction last quarter
• Brought two new high-profile clients to the company, increasing total company sales revenue by 10%
• Voluntarily trained incoming sales staff, totaling 80 hours of voluntary service
I believe I have gone above and beyond the benchmarks, we set for my position when I arrived at the company three years ago.
I would therefore appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss increasing my salary so that it is commensurate with my current performance. I request a pay raise of six percent, which I believe reflects both my current competencies and industry averages. Once again, I am grateful to be a member of this organization, and I enjoy taking on assignments that allow me to contribute to the company. Thank you for your time. I look forward to speaking with you soon.Sincerely,(Name)
SAMPLE 3 Hi X, Now that the XYZ project is in the rearview and we’re all settling back into our regular routines, I wanted to drop you a line to ask if we can have a meeting to discuss my compensation. As you know, I started at (insert company) two years ago as an intern and came on board at a salary that was slightly low in the pay band, with the understanding that we would revisit my pay at review time. Since then, we’ve all been too busy to think much about anything but hitting our deadlines. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to start my career with mentors like you and Jack and to continue learning in a growing company. Over the past two years, I’ve gladly assumed many hats, including leading our latest project. In addition, I’ve always exceeded my own goals without missing a single deadline. I’ve also continued developing my skillset, taking classes in UX design.
My research indicates that a raise of 10 percent would be appropriate. I’d love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss this in person.
SAMPLE 4 Dear Ma’am, I am writing to you to request a review of my salary. I have been working as (Insert role) for (insert several years) now at your company. During my time here, I have been dedicated and have never missed any deadlines. I have worked meticulously to promote the growth of the company. I believe that a review of my track record, achievements, and commitment to your company will justify the reasons for a raise in my salary.
I request you to give me a minimum of 22% increment. I would be much obliged if the company could provide me with an increment. I would also like to let you know that I am available for further discussion regarding this.
Thanking you in advance for your time and consideration.Yours faithfully,(Name)SAMPLE 5
Dear Ma’am, I have been working as (insert role) in your esteemed institution for more than four years.
From the beginning of my teaching career at your school, I have worked to help my students show good results and guide them in the right direction to achieve their goals. I have extended my support in organising competitions and every school event. I have also played a key role in preparing curriculum binders every year. While I am glad to be rendering my services for the good of my students and for the school’s progress, I would also like to request an increment in my salary as I have taken on additional responsibilities and started handling two extra classes. I believe that I am eligible for a hike of at least 20% in my salary owing to my dedication and hard work.
I will be very grateful if you accept my request and provide me with an increment in my salary. I would like to let you know that I would be available for any negotiations.
Thank you in advance.
PS: Remember to tweak the email template to fit your needs.
Now, you have all you need to ask for a raise like a pro. There’s no stopping you. We are rooting for you! If you found this guide useful, kindly share it with your colleagues and friends.