Asking for a raise can be particularly daunting, and using a form of electronic communication can feel especially impersonal. However, if you handle your request with etiquette and professionalism, you may find the success you desire.
We will show you the best methods for requesting a raise through email.
Should You Ask for a Raise Via Email?
It’s worth noting that email isn’t always the best route to take. On the one hand, emails allow you the time to think about how you want to structure your argument to make convincing points. In-person communication offers more direct back-and-forth interaction, presenting you with a better understanding of your employer’s perspective.
As such, whether you should use email boils down to how well you can make your argument, your social skill aptitudes, and how effectively you can cover all of the counterpoints your boss might raise.
Here’s a short list of the pros and cons of using email for this purpose:
- Short and succinct
- Grant you the time to prepare and organize your argument
- Allow you to provide an organized record of your performance
- An impersonal means of communication
- Not ideal for teams that work together regularly in-person
- Does not easily facilitate compromise
- Text inherently lacks emotion, so your employer may misunderstand your feelings or intentions
Sending the right message is the first challenge of asking for a raise via email, and if you see and work closely with your boss regularly, then asking for a raise in person is likely a better approach.
How to Ask for a Raise Via Email
Making the Ask via email can be challenging, but it does give you plenty of time to prepare your argument and lay out a case. Don’t be afraid to promote your performance and capabilities. The worst your boss can say is “no,” and life continues.
However, some techniques can improve your chances of resonating with your boss, so keep these guidelines in mind as you craft a winning email.
Keep It Short
The first rule of business communication is brevity. Most work emails with coworkers are best when you avoid beating around the bush, so it is vital to keep the subject of your email clear and your information concise.
Avoid digressions or attempting to communicate multiple issues, as it detracts from your request or may even go unnoticed or unacknowledged as they respond to a different topic.
Remember, your employer has numerous employees to communicate with and different aspects of the business to manage, and they may be stressed.
In light of this, make sure that you only stick to the following basic structure:
- Introduce your subject
- Express happiness working for the company
- Highlight your accomplishments
- Offer comparative rates
- Add a closer
Avoiding unnecessary jargon will help keep your boss from dismissing a raise request out of hand. Generally, avoid mentioning personal reasons for a raise, as this may come across as manipulative.
While your boss may empathize with your need for money during periods of high inflation, it’s not the most effective way to convince your boss that you are worth the additional expense.
Pick Your Moment
Asking for a raise is part preparation, part timing. You are not likely to sway your boss into granting a raise if the company has fallen on hard times, so ideally, you should wait until the company is in a growth cycle or settled into a productive rhythm before you make The Ask.
If you feel the moment could be better, you could wait until your subsequent evaluation and let your exemplary work speak for itself. On the other hand, if you have just come off the tail end of a project that led to great success, it might be time to speak up while the memory is still fresh in your employer’s mind.
The most crucial tip for landing a raise is to sell yourself and your achievements. If you believe your hard work and accomplishments are worth a greater salary, let them speak for themselves in your raise request email.
Of course, you never want to take sole credit for projects done jointly or where you only performed a minor role. Yet, there is no fault in an honest evaluation of your work for the company and addressing the value you bring to the table.
Doing so is the most effective way to get your employer to see things your way. Simply put, employers have a lot of headaches to manage, and for them to consider giving you a raise, you want them to regard you as a net gain in their eyes.
Here is an example of how you might sell yourself during your email request:
I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss the possibility of additional compensation for my performance here at Go-Get-Em Software. I am confident that I have been performing above expectations in my role, taking on numerous responsibilities and projects to benefit the company. To demonstrate this, I have attached examples of my achievements for your consideration. Please let me know a time for discussion that is convenient for you.
Suppose you have continuously committed to a high work standard, have an excellent rapport with your coworkers, and regularly produce productive work. In that case, your employer will see the merit of rewarding your effort and giving you a raise, primarily to keep such a tremendous asset (you) invested in the company’s interests.
To this effect, attach a copy of your yearly performance reviews and detail any successful projects in which you had heavy involvement. Doing so appeals to your employer’s business sense and is more likely to yield a positive result.
Remember, never take credit for accomplishments that are not solely yours, but don’t be afraid to note your contribution to the company’s major projects:
My contributions as a team leader have not only met established goals but surpassed those expectations. As noted in my performance review, I always complete my work on time and have been a strong influence in the improvement of the sales department. Furthermore, the additional responsibilities I have accepted in the past year have proved immensely helpful to our team’s efforts. I want to discuss how my salary can reflect that contribution.
Be Open to Compromise
Finally, you should be willing to compromise on your offer. Provide an exact dollar amount you’d like for a salary increase, but don’t be surprised if your employer proposes a counteroffer. Don’t lead by offering a compromise; start with your raise request and incorporate a counteroffer into your follow-up email.
To improve the odds of your employer viewing the situation from your perspective, take note of your competition’s pay and incorporate that into your argument as well:
My research suggests that X is the average salary for my role, which is X% higher than my current earnings. As I’ve settled into the responsibilities associated with this occupation, I’ve gained experience and proved my value as a trustworthy, consistent, and beneficial employee. To reflect that value, I believe my salary should be X.
Handling negotiations requires some tact, and you need to consider your employer’s perspective: they might not currently have the funds to offer you a raise. As such, consider whether a modified benefits package or the opportunity to have more paid vacation days would suit your aspirations.
If your employer does deny your raise request, you can address these possibilities in a way similar to this example:
Thank you for considering my request and acknowledging my productive work in the company thus far. I understand you can’t offer more monetary compensation at this time, but would you be willing to discuss the possibility of compensation regarding an improved benefits package or paid vacation days?
The Bottom Line
Only you understand the intricacies of your relationship with your boss to best determine whether an email is an appropriate medium to ask for a raise. If you work closely in your field, it may be better to broach the topic in person rather than risk misunderstandings that can occur through text.
If you choose the digital route, make sure to keep your email concise, laying out your case for why you deserve a raise. Use quantifiable data to sell yourself, and be prepared to negotiate if necessary. By following these guidelines, you will have the best chance of succeeding with your salary aspirations.