You’re ready to ask for a promotion and/or a raise. A well-written letter or email could mean thousands of dollars in extra income. Here’s a template to use.
Before you start writing
If you haven’t achieved any financial savings, measurable results, or other benefits for your company, you’re not ready to write this letter. You need to show your boss proof that you deserve a raise. Remind her of how you’ve worked together and her buy-in to some of these ideas. Ideally, proven cost savings, efficiencies, or other improvements you’ve suggested will more than pay for the extra boost in your paycheck.
Also, this raise request isn’t about what you need. Your boss doesn’t care that you just had a new baby, you’re now taking care of an elderly parent, or the deferment on your $60,000 in student loans just ended. Your boss cares about the bottom line and how you’re improving the organization.
Start on a friendly, positive note
Start friendly and get to the point quickly.
For example: “I’ve enjoyed working for you and with the team at ABC Company for the last 12 months. I appreciate your open-door policy and willingness to consider suggestions for improvement. Here are some of my ideas you and the team agreed to put in place, along with the results.”
Quantify efforts, results, and benefits
Clearly outline an idea you came up with and implemented and the resulting benefit to the company. If the company saved money, quantify how much by dollar amount or percentage.
For example: “In the first three months of the year, I streamlined and automated the invoicing process so our clients received all of their project milestone bills earlier in the timeline. I increased the upfront deposit on new projects from 20 percent to 40 percent. I also addressed slow payers. We added a discount of 2 percent for all payments received three business days before the due date. We also added a late fee of 2 percent for all payments received more than 24 hours late. These policies have improved cash flow 10 percent and resulted in 30 percent less staff time chasing payment.”
Not just about money
Sometimes, benefits come in the form of improved morale. Better morale is harder to quantify, but when employees are happy they’re less likely to leave. Often there are other benefits to these so-called soft improvements as well.
For example: “In the last nine months, you allowed me to lead an initiative to allow employees to work remotely one day per week and added the option for flexible scheduling. Workers took fewer sick days, illnesses did not spread through the office, and some employees did limited work from home when they were under the weather. Employee absenteeism in general dropped 5 percent because workers were able to schedule medical appointments and other commitments without taking time off. With a flexible schedule, we were able to increase our availability to clients by two hours on each end of the day—from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Our clients responded well and orders increased 3 percent.”
Remind your boss of recent praise
Ideally, you’ve been compiling a file of all the kudos from your boss over the years. This is the time to bring that file out.
For example: “After the Johnson initiative, you told me our company had never completed a project that met all the standards requirements immediately. On the Brown project, you told me Mr. Brown usually had multiple requests for revisions but this time there was only one change request. As for the Smith project, you may recall I finished the project a week ahead of schedule. Here’s a copy of the note Ms. Smith sent you at the time.”
Close with a call to action
After you’ve laid out your case, ask for what you want.
For example: “Based on these results, I would like a 5 percent raise/a promotion to manager of production. When are you available to get together to discuss my performance?”
Of course, this template is only a conversation starter, not a guarantee of a big raise. But no matter how your boss responds, continue to look ahead and build your kudos file. Look for ways to save money, improve morale, and make it easy for your boss to promote you when the time is right.