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A Quick and Dirty Guide to Asking for a Raise in Writing

This article originally appeared on InHerSight.com, a website where women rate the female friendliness of their employers and get matched to companies that fit their needs.

InHerSight's research shows women are not asking for raises. More than 50% of women say they have not asked for a raise in the past year -- that means they might be missing out on money they've earned. It's time we change that.

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No matter when or how you ask for a raise, it's a good idea to accompany your request with a letter that makes it clear how much you're asking for and the reason you're qualified to ask.

Wait, so I just send a letter and that's it?

Not quite. Even if you work remotely or don't work in the same location as your boss, the letter should always be accompanied by a verbal conversation, whether by phone, Skype, or in person.

Here are a few ways you can set up that conversation.

  • Before your next one-on-one meeting with your boss, send them a note saying that you'd like to discuss your salary and compensation in your next meeting.

  • If you don't have regular one-on-one time with your boss, set up a meeting and let them know what it's about: I'd like to meet with you next Wednesday to discuss my salary.

  • If you work remotely, set up a phone call or Skype meeting to discuss.

If you're able to meet your boss in person, bring a printed copy of the letter. If you're making the request remotely, send the letter via email an hour or so before the meeting with a note that says you plan to discuss it on the call.

Example letter

Dear Sabina,

I am writing to request an increase of 8% to my base salary. In my time in product management at Super Product Management, Inc., I have advanced from a junior product manager to product manager, and expanded my responsibilities to include both client support and reporting.

In the last year, I have achieved:

-Positive performance reviews over the last four quarters.

-A reputation among my peers as solid and dependable, the point person for troubleshooting within Product X.

-A client satisfaction rating increase of 20% since I took over Product X.

-Implementation of four new UX improvements that have resulted in 90% satisfaction scores from users.

Additionally:

-Because I hope to one day oversee my own team, I have participated in three company-run trainings on team management.

-I have also asked for cross-training initiatives to increase my understanding of products across the business.

An 8% increase to my current salary of $50,000 would place me at $54,000, which I believe is commensurate with my experience and contributions to Super Product Management.

I appreciate very much your time in responding to this request.

Thank you in advance,

Nicola Swarthburne

Tips for requesting a raise in writing

  • Consider how formal your workplace is: More formal workplaces will require a formal letter format that includes addresses and contact information, and addresses your manager more formally, i.e., Dear Ms. Sabina Ross.

  • Use numbers: Always support your request with as many numbers as possible. Increases in output, improved results, increased efficiency, higher scores, etc.

  • Research your number: Sites like PayScale can give you a sense of what others with similar education, experience, and responsibilities are earning. But, know that you can always ask for more than a middling figure. It's all about how you back it up.

  • Practice first: Ask a friend to help you practice your request on the phone, via Skype, or in person -- however you will be discussing your raise letter.

  • Make it only about you: As tempting as it may be to point out how much more successful you are than your peers, when you're requesting a raise, the support you provide should be only about your accomplishments.

  • Be ready to discuss: Your manager may be ready to give you a raise right there, but they might also want to negotiate the terms of your raise. If they can't offer cash, then perhaps flexible work hours, more paid time off, or the ability to work from home. If that's the case, we have a guide for you: Never Say...When Negotiating a Raise.

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The Motley Fool has an ownership interest in InHerSight. Motley Fool CFO Ollen Douglass serves on the board of directors for InHerSight. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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