It’s no secret that negotiating salary can be a tricky task. After all, you don’t want to lowball yourself or ask for too much. But at the same time, you want to ensure you’re getting paid what you’re worth.
One way to tackle this difficult task is to write a salary negotiation email. By putting your request in writing, you can have a documented back-and-forth discussion with your employer to help reach a mutually beneficial agreement. In addition, by writing an email instead of just talking about salary, you also have a written record of the conversation that you can reference later if needed.
Of course, not just any email will do. To write a successful salary negotiation email, you should remember a few essential tips. The following six tips will help you write a killer salary negotiation email that will help you get the pay you deserve.
1. Do Market Research
To write an effective salary negotiation email, you need to do some research first. You must be able to back up your requests using salary information from the local and national markets. With that in mind, the following are a few questions you’ll want to answer before writing your email:
- What is the national average salary for this position?
You’ll want to know what the average person in this position earns to gauge whether your request is too high or low. You can find this information by checking the Bureau of Labor Statistics website or salary databases like Salary.com or Payscale.com.
- What is the average salary for this position in your area?
In addition to the national average, you’ll also want to determine what this job position earns in your area. That way, you can tailor your request to the local market. Once again, the Bureau of Labor Statistics website can help you out here. Select your state and then go to the “Occupational Employment Statistics” section.
- How much do similar companies in your area pay employees in this position?
Even in the same city, there can be a big difference in salaries between different companies. To get an idea of what this position pays at similar companies, you can check out websites like Glassdoor.com or LinkedIn. If you have any connections to people who work at these companies, you could also ask them directly too.
- Can you afford to live on your current salary?
Cost of living is essential to consider, even if you are not currently planning on changing jobs. After all, you want to ensure the salary at your current job is enough to live on. To help answer this question, try using a cost of living calculator like the one from CNNMoney.
Knowing how much it costs to live in your area will give you a better sense of what kind of a raise you need to live comfortably.
- Are you anticipating any major expenses?
In addition to the cost of living, you’ll also want to consider any significant upcoming expenses you might have. For example, suppose you’re planning on buying a house or having a child. In that case, you’ll need to factor those costs into your salary negotiations.
- Are there other forms of compensation you would like to consider?
Salary isn’t the only thing you can negotiate. If you are not fully satisfied with the salary a potential employer is offering, ask about other forms of compensation. For example, you could negotiate better health benefits, more vacation days, flexible hours, or stock options.
2. Know When You Should Negotiate Your Salary
Knowing when to negotiate your current salary is crucial to getting the most out of your current position. If you choose the wrong time to bring up the subject, it’s more likely your request will be rejected. Not to mention, you won’t be able to bring up the issue again for a while.
Understanding this, the following are a few key times when it’s generally appropriate to negotiate your salary:
You Just Got The Job Offer
The best time to negotiate for a raise is when a company extends a job offer. At this point, the company has already decided they want to hire you, and they’re just trying to finalize the details. Negotiating at this point gives you a lot of leverage in the negotiation process.
You’re Going Through A Major Life Change
Suppose you’re going through a major life change, such as getting married or having a child. In that case, this can also be an excellent time to negotiate a salary increase. These changes usually come with additional financial responsibilities, so it’s only natural to want to make more money.
Employers may be more willing to accommodate your request if they know that you need the increase in salary due to a major life change. After all, if you actually need the money, you’ll be more likely to leave if they aren’t willing to increase your salary at all.
A Better Position Opened Up In The Company
If you’re approached about taking on a new position within the company, this is another prime opportunity for negotiating your salary. After all, if the company plans to give you more responsibility, it’s a sign they recognize your value and may be more willing to pay you more. As such, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask for a salary that reflects your increased responsibilities.
Another Company Has Made A Better Offer
Suppose you receive a job offer from another company. If this is the case, it is usually the strongest leverage you can have in a salary negotiation. Your current employer will likely want to keep you around since hiring and training new employees costs more. As such, they may be willing to match or even exceed the salary the other company is offering.
3. Evaluate What You Can Offer The Company
When negotiating your salary, it’s crucial to prove your worth to the company. After all, you’re asking them to pay you more, so you must show them why you deserve it. Therefore, before writing your negotiation email, evaluate what you can offer to the company. The following are some of the strengths you can highlight that can help improve your negotiating position:
- Industry experience: If you have significant experience in the industry, this is something you can use to your advantage. Companies are always looking for employees with relevant experience, so this is a key selling point – especially since it’s difficult to replace.
- Leadership experience: Leadership experience is another great strength to highlight if you have experience leading or managing a team. Companies are always looking for strong leaders who can take charge, which is why they value leadership experience. Additionally, companies that look to promote from within value leadership experience even more.
- Education level: If you have a higher education level than what is required for the position, this is something you can definitely use to your advantage.
- Career level: If you’re at a higher level in your career, such as being a senior executive, this is something you’ll also want to bring up. The higher up you are in your position, the more difficult it will be for the company to replace you, which means they may be more willing to give you a raise in order to keep you at the company.
- Skills: If you have any skills that are relevant or valuable to the company, make sure to highlight them, especially if they were gained through extensive education or training.
- Certifications or licenses: Professional licenses or certifications can also be used as bargaining chips for a salary negotiation. After all, these credentials often require significant investment and show that you’re an expert in your field.
4. Set The Right Tone In Your Email
Even if you deserve a raise, the last thing you want is for your email to sound entitled or demanding. Instead, you want to come across as confident yet humble. The following are some tips for setting the right tone in your negotiation email:
Lead With Gratitude
Before getting into your request, start on the right foot by expressing your gratitude. After all, it’s important to show appreciation for what you have so that you don’t sound ungrateful. You can do this by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to work at the company or for your manager’s support. Doing so will ensure that you don’t sound demanding or entitled when you ask for a raise.
Be Polite But Straightforward
When requesting a raise, you want to be polite but straightforward. Doing so means getting to the point without beating around the bush. On the other hand, you also don’t want to come across as rude or abrupt.
The best way to do this is by using a formal but respectful tone. For example, you can start by saying, “I hope you don’t mind me bringing this up,” or “I know you’re busy, so I’ll get to the point.”
Be Upfront About Expectations
If you have any salary requirements, be upfront about them. This way, the company can decide if they’re able to meet your expectations or not. Additionally, being upfront about your expectations shows you’re confident in your value and worth to the company.
If you’re not upfront with your expectations, they may agree to a raise, but they may not give you as much as you were hoping for.
Trying to negotiate for a higher number will become difficult at this point since you were never upfront about your expectations. Doing so could leave your employer feeling like you’re ungrateful or trying to take advantage of the situation.
Use Your Market Research To Back Up Your Points
When requesting a raise, it’s essential to back up your points with evidence. This is where your market research comes in handy. By showing your employer that you’re being paid below the market rate, you’re more likely to get the raise you’re asking for.
Additionally, your market research will come in handy if your employer tries to lowball you. In this case, you can simply provide them with the evidence that shows you’re being underpaid and use this to negotiate a higher salary.
Be Open To Negotiation
When requesting a raise, be open to negotiation. This means potentially accepting a lower raise than what you were hoping for if it’s all the company can afford. It’s also important to be flexible with the negotiation process. If your employer can’t meet your salary requirements, be open to other forms of compensation. For example, stock options, more vacation days, or a flexible work schedule.
If you’re flexible with your negotiations, it will reflect well on you. In addition, your employer will see that you met them halfway, which could bode well for your future at the company.
5. Keep It Short And Sweet
In addition to using research to back your request and establishing the right tone, it’s also vital that you keep your salary negotiation email short and sweet. The following is a brief breakdown of what your email should include:
Clear And Concise Subject Line
Your email should have a clear and concise subject line. Having this will ensure that your email is opened and read as intended, instead of ignored or deleted. You’ll also want to ensure that your employer doesn’t feel like you tricked them into reading your email. A good subject line might be “Request for Salary Negotiation” or “Request for Raise.”
If your subject line is something like “Urgent Matter to Discuss,” your employer may feel like you’re trying to ambush them, which will likely not be well received.
Appropriate Formal Greeting
Your email should start with an appropriate formal greeting. For example, “Dear Mr./Mrs. Smith,” or “Good afternoon, Mr./Mrs. Smith.” Addressing your employer by their proper title shows that you respect both them and their position.
First Paragraph: Expressing Gratitude
You should use the first paragraph of your email to express your gratitude for the opportunity to work at the company. You can also use this paragraph to express how much you enjoy working there. For example, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to work at XYZ Company. I love coming to work every day and feel like I’m part of a great team.”
Second Paragraph: A Precise Argument For Salary Negotiation
The second paragraph of your email is where you’ll make your case for salary negotiation. This paragraph is where you’ll want to be clear and concise. You’ll want to avoid rambling or making your argument too long-winded. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that your argument is well-researched and backed up with evidence.
Closing Paragraph: Statement Of Interest
You should use the closing paragraph of your email to reiterate your interest in working at the company. You can also use this paragraph to express your willingness to continue working hard and meeting all of your job responsibilities. For example, “I’m very interested in continuing to work at XYZ Company and will continue to do my best to meet all my job responsibilities.”
After your closing paragraph, you’ll want to sign off with a brief email signature. For example, “Sincerely, John Doe.” Don’t make your employer read through a long, drawn-out signature. Instead, keep it short and sweet.
6. Have Someone Proofread Your Email Before Sending It
Before sending your email, it’s essential to have someone else go over it to help ensure that there are no errors. Basic grammar and spelling mistakes can make you seem unprofessional, which may negatively affect your negotiating power.
Additionally, having someone else read your email will allow you to get feedback on your strategy. Feedback is important because you want to ensure that you’re approaching the situation in the best way possible.
An Example Of A Salary Negotiation Email
Subject: Request for Salary Negotiation
Dear Mr./Mrs. Smith,
I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work at XYZ Company. I enjoy coming to work every day and feel like I’m part of a great team.
However, I would like to discuss a potential raise. I have been with the company for X years and feel I have made significant contributions. Additionally, I have taken on more responsibilities since being hired. I am hoping to receive a salary increase of X%. Based on the current market value for my position, I believe this is a fair request for my skills and experience.
I’m very interested in continuing to work at XYZ Company and will do my best to meet all my job responsibilities. I hope we can come to an agreement that benefits both parties.
Negotiate Your Salary With Confidence
The most important thing to remember when writing a salary negotiation email is to be clear, concise, and professional. Of course, you’ll want to show your gratitude, but you’ll also want to be confident in the fact that you believe you deserve a raise. By following these tips, you can write an effective salary negotiation email that will give you the best chance of getting what you want