Ask for a Raise in Email

Asking for a raise can be a nerve-wracking experience. Putting your request in a carefully-crafted email can help you clarify your expectations and organize your thoughts. Maximize your chances for getting a raise by writing a clear, concise email. Take time to build a compelling request, and decide on the best timing for sending your request.


Composing Your Email

  1. Keep the tone friendly and professional. Your request should be polite and respectful, but there’s no need to be extremely formal. Your enthusiasm for the job should be clear. Open your email by addressing your boss as you normally would (e.g., “Hi, Mary”).[1]
  2. Be clear and direct. Your boss should be able to understand what you are asking for right off the bat. Give your email a subject line that clearly addresses what the message is about. Summarize your request in the opening paragraph.[1]
    • For example, give your email a subject line like “Requesting Salary Adjustment.”
    • Your opening paragraph could be something like: “I have been working hard over the past two years to make valuable contributions to the company. In light of everything I have accomplished, I would like to request a raise to $35,200 per year. This is in line with current average salaries for editorial assistants working in the academic publishing industry in the Chicago area.”
  3. Make your message detail-oriented. Once you have made your opening statement, support your request with examples of ways that you have helped the company. Cite a few specific goals you have for improving your performance and continuing to help the company moving forward.[2]
  4. Avoid complaints or ultimatums. Your request should be as positive as possible. Don’t complain about how hard you are working for so little pay, or about how long it has been since your last raise. Also avoid implying or outright stating that you will leave if you don’t get what you want.
    • Instead, focus on your accomplishments. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for the work, and your desire to continue contributing to the company in a positive way.[3]
  5. Summarize and re-state your request. End with a paragraph reiterating why you feel you deserve the raise. Re-state your request for your target salary.[1]
    • You could end with something like, “Given my positive contributions to the company over the past two years, I believe that $35,200 per year would be appropriate for someone with my qualifications and experience. I look forward to discussing this with you, and welcome any feedback you may have about how I can improve my performance even further.”
  6. Sign off respectfully. Thank your boss for their time and consideration. Close your email in a friendly, respectful manner (e.g., “All the best,” “Best wishes,” or “Regards”).[1]
  7. Be prepared for a “no”. If your boss says no to your request, accept it gracefully and don’t give up. A negative response now does not necessarily mean you won’t be able to get a raise in the future.[3]
    • Send a follow up email – or have a conversation in person – thanking them again for their time.
    • Politely ask for their feedback about what you might do to get a “yes” in the future.

Crafting Your Argument

  1. Make a list of your accomplishments. Spend some time thinking about your contributions to the company over the past year or so (or since your last raise, if you’ve had one). Write down anything that you think is significant. For example, consider whether you have:[3]
    • Successfully completed any important projects.
    • Saved the company money or helped increase revenue.
    • Performed above and beyond what was expected of you.
    • Gotten positive feedback from clients, customers, or supervisors.
  2. Do some research on current salaries in your industry. Find out about the typical salary range of other people in similar positions, with similar levels of experience, to yours. Ask around among colleagues to get an idea of how much they are making. You can also consult with your company’s Human Resources department, or check out websites like or[2]
  3. Decide on a target salary. Once you have done your research, decide on a reasonable amount to ask for. Make your target salary as specific as possible.[2]
    • Managers are more receptive to specific numbers than ballpark figures. For example, rather than giving a range from $40,000-$45,000, ask for $43,500.
    • Keep in mind that the average raise is between 1% and 5% of an employee’s current salary. Factor this in when deciding on your target salary.

Deciding on Timing

  1. Avoid asking when your boss is under pressure. Is your boss overwhelmed with employee evaluations, urgent deadlines, or difficult budget decisions? If so, you should probably wait until things calm down before approaching them to ask for a raise.[3]
  2. Ask when the company is doing well. If revenues are up, clients are happy, and the company is stable or expanding, this is probably a great time to ask for a raise. Avoid asking at a time when the budget is tight. It’s almost certainly the wrong time to ask for a raise if layoffs are happening.[4]
  3. Make your request when your responsibilities change. It makes sense to time your request with an increase or shift in your responsibilities. For example, it might be a good time to ask for a raise if:[3]
    • You have recently taken on a new project.
    • You have just completed new job-related training.
    • You have helped build an important relationship with a new client or business partner.
  4. Consider bringing up the topic in person before sending your email. When you’re asking for a raise, it’s best to combine a written request with a one-on-one discussion. Send a brief message to your boss letting them know that you’d like to discuss the possibility of a raise. Either immediately before or immediately after your meeting, send an email clearly stating the details of your request.[1]

Sources and Citations