Fearless Salary Negotiation

Prepare to ask for a raise using this email template

Send your raise request after you talk to your manager

This is your chance to make your case in writing so your manager can circulate it in your own words. You'll make your case better than anyone else will.

The best way to prepare your case is to write it down. As it turns out, you’ll also want to have a written summary of why you deserve your raise later on (see the “Present your case” section below), so we’re going to kill two birds with one stone in this section by building an email that summarizes your case.

Here’s what your case for a raise will look like once you’ve written it down. I’ve numbered each section on the left side so we can talk about it afterward.

Now, all you need to do is go through the template and replace anything in bold with the appropriate piece of information. This should be pretty easy because you’ve already done all the hard work when you did your research earlier. Feel free to edit this email to make it your own. This is just a template to get you started and show you the bare necessities you should include to make this as useful as possible.

Let’s go section by section to build your email and make your case.

1. Address

You’re writing this to your manager or whoever who spoke to about your raise.

2. Subject

Make sure you include your name in the subject, and make it clear exactly what this email is about.

3. Greeting

Keep it short and sweet: “Hi Tina” will do. The bolded part is “Your manager’s name” because I’m assuming you’ll send this written request to your manager. If you’re sending it to someone different, you’ll want to change that to their name.

4. Introduction and request

Cut right to the chase and make it brief, specifically listing your desired salary.

Notice that I recommend you state the midpoint from your market research before your desired salary. This is so that the first number is a market number—a fact that is determined by external forces—and that should soften up your manager for your request. Your request will seem much more reasonable when presented immediately after the market-set midpoint.

You may also notice that the example refers to a conversation that has already happened (“Thanks for your time the other day.”). That’s because you won’t send this email cold—it will be a follow-up to a verbal conversation if at all possible. We’ll talk about that conversation more in the “Presenting your case” section below.

5. & 6. Accomplishments sections

Lay out your case as succinctly as possible. You should list no more than five accomplishments, so be sure to pick your strongest ones. This email isn’t a complete historical record of everything you’ve ever done for the company. This is a skimmable document that makes a strong case for whoever is holding the purse strings to give you a raise. You want the person reading this to think, “She’s already adding so much more value to the company then when she was hired. This seems like a totally reasonable request given all the money she has made and saved us since then.”

One of the benefits of preparing your case ahead of time is that you can be confident that your case is strong before you present it. If you have trouble with this section, that’s a red flag that your case may not be as strong as you anticipated, and you may not have earned as much of a raise as you thought. This isn’t an ironclad rule, but I recommend covering a reasonable amount of time (several weeks or a few months) in this section so that your case is as compelling as possible when you finally present it.

7. & 8. Accolades sections

Again, this should be brief, but should highlight your best results from the past six months to a year. This isn’t a complete record, it’s a skimmable list that should raise eyebrows when others see it. Remember that the person approving this raise may not know who you are, so you’re giving them a short summary of your accolades to let them know that they should be impressed with you because other people are impressed with you.

This section is less crucial than the “Accomplishments” section, but it really helps. If you have trouble completing this part, you may still move forward with your request, or you may not. Some jobs are very solitary and simply don’t garner accolades from clients or peers. I strongly recommend you have at least a couple items in this section before you present your case, but if your “Accomplishments” section makes a very strong case on its own, this section may not be necessary.

9. Conclusion and repeated request

State your request and make your case again as concisely as possible. No more than two or three sentences.

10. Signoff and signature

Thank your manager for her time and keep it brief.

Everything has now come together so that you know what you’re pursuing, and you have a written case that summarizes why you should be given a raise. This should help clarify your own objectives, and it will provide a handy reference for you as you present your case.

You've changed jobs before and felt like you were leaving money on the table. You never have to feel that way again.

In this free 5-email series, I will show you how to conquer that feeling for good.
      Build your case for your next raise
      Ask for a raise in person and follow up with an email

      Work with Josh

      Negotiating a job offer soon? I'll help!

      I'm Josh Doody, a professional salary negotiation coach who helps High Earners negotiate their job offers. On average, High Earners improve their first-year compensation by $47,273 with my help.

      Apply for a free 15-minute intro call to learn how I can help.

      Work with Josh Or learn more about Josh