You work hard. You show up to your post on time, perform admirably and leave with a clean conscience knowing that you have helped your team be the best it can be. The one thing you are missing for it to be the best job possible is a larger salary. If you choose to ask for this raise in writing, be sure to include the five most important components.
Make a Thoughtful Introduction
Set the tone of your salary increase letter by graciously thanking the person in charge of giving salary increases for the position, by name, in the introduction. Within the introductory paragraph, include your position and a brief overview of what you do on an everyday basis.This will serve as a backdrop to show that you both meet and exceed your job requirements and deserve a raise.
Set Your Expectations
Toward the end of the introductory paragraph, clearly state that you are requesting a higher salary. Be positive here and throughout the letter and avoid a confrontational or demanding tone. Be specific in the exact amount you are requesting but allow for a counteroffer. Be confident, but respectful, in your requested amount, acknowledging that your employer may or may not have enough of a payroll budget to accommodate your request.
Justify your Increase
In subsequent paragraphs, justify your request for a pay increase. Research and present the average salary for your position from sources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. List ways that you exceed the job expectation and create a list of specific contributions and accomplishments that help support your case that you are, indeed, underpaid compared to what you do for the team. Quantify the specific amount of labor you save the company through your above-and-beyond efforts, compared to the cost of hiring or redirecting another employee to fill the role, to help them see the logic of your request.
Request a Meeting
Your salary increase letter should include a request to meet face-to-face to discuss the merits of your request. Do not demand a specific time, but offer a few suggestions that will not interfere with your manager's heavy workload. Request a response by reiterating in your closing that you look forward to meeting to discuss this further. Practice for this meeting at home and come prepared should you get the opportunity.
Demonstrate Your Flexibility
Your request may or may not have a successful outcome, but it will let your manager know your value and your desire for an increase. Ask for more responsibilities or for other incentives once you achieve a goal or a benchmark to further justify the pay increase, as this helps your manager see an added value in the proposition. Do not forget to negotiate benefits as well as salary, as some employers have more flexibility in this area. Even if you can only negotiate a flexible schedule or a telecommute opportunity, you can save money and increase your job satisfaction for your effort.