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How to Write a Proposal for a Salary Increase

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If you want a raise, you'll have to speak up, preferably by writing a one-page memo that showcases your value to the company. Keeping your head down and hoping that the boss recognizes your work isn't the answer. Getting a bigger paycheck means researching where you stand in the marketplace, and showing how you've boosted your company's bottom line lately, which is your employer's biggest concern.

Assess Your Position

Determine your job's market value before writing your letter or memo. Online job sites such as Glassdoor give an indication of what companies in your industry currently pay employees with similar education and work experience. You'll be able to tell if your company pays above or below the industry average. In addition, consult industry associations, or more detailed wage breakdowns offered by public agencies such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Talking with recruiters can also pinpoint a figure to serve as a starting point in negotiations.

Detail Your Accomplishments

Choose five to seven major accomplishments, and prepare bullet points for each one. Use specific numbers and examples to support your request. Explaining how you saved money or raised profits is one starting point. For example, you might say, "Joined several team members in producing a market research study that attracted 'X' million dollars in new business," advises the Quintessential Careers. Include successful projects or extra responsibilities that you've taken on. Also, add a sentence or two about positive traits -- such as a record of exceptional reliability or attention to details others may overlook -- that exemplify why you're such an asset to the company.

Don't Overlook Perks

Consider nonsalary areas that you'll negotiate. Base pay is only one part of a compensation package, even if it's the most visible one. Evaluate whether your proposal should include requests for a bigger title, flexible work hours, the desire to telecommute, stock options, or tuition reimbursements, says Kiplinger career columnist Erin Burt in her January 2014 article, "Five Steps to Negotiating a Raise." However, if a higher salary is your priority, add any nonsalary requests near the conclusion of your proposal.

Provide Supporting Materials

Include additional nonsalary information that boosts your case. For example, if your job description has changed significantly -- or you completed advanced training and certification -- note those details in a sentence or two. Briefly describe major events that boosted the company's visibility -- and your profile -- if you attended such gatherings. You might say something like, "Presented on Issue X at Conference Y for Audience Z." Lastly, drive home your point by including copies of emails or notes from clients, customers or supervisors that highlight positive milestones in your career.

Other Considerations

Structure your proposal as a one-page business memo. At the top, type your boss's name, your name, date and subject heading. Summarize your status in the first paragraph. Follow with your bullet points and supporting materials. State your request in the closing paragraph by saying something like, "I'm confident you'll offer a salary that reflects the matters I've identified, and my standing with the company." Proofread your memo for errors before emailing or submitting it.


Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.

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