Where I work we have a yearly opportunity to get a raise.

The amount is always $100 extra a month, and only 25 of the 500 employees will get it. So I will be competing with managers, researchers, and other people with much higher rank and salaries than me. I am a programmer.

I have to hand in my letter to the CEO and manager, and the CEO will ask my manager to rank all his employees of who that deserves a raise, and the CEO will then make the final decision.

The CEO kind of knows who I am.


  • What kind of things should I focus on my letter?
  • Should I include a picture of myself in the letter?
  • What is most important to a CEO: Projects I have done or experience I have gained?
  • 4
    Each year, you have a 5% chance to get any raise at all? Is there very high turnover at this company? Jan 5, 2013 at 19:21
  • It is probably less for me, as the researchers are the ones that makes all the money to the company. So I suspect that they have a higher chance. But then again, the CEO and my manger are very nice people and they really understand humans. I think about 1 person leaves pr month. Jan 5, 2013 at 19:48
  • 1 person leaves per month? Geez…
    – e-sushi
    Oct 23, 2013 at 7:11

1 Answer 1


The CEO should be concerned with events that make it possible for the company to be more successful.

This could be something that directly led to more sales. It could be being part of the team that won a new contract, or the delivery of code that allowed them to release the next version of the software.

It could be something that indirectly led to more sales or more profit. Getting a letter or award from a customer for a job well done is a great thing. It could also be learning a new skill or incorporating a new technology into the products or the workflow. This allows them to add it to the corporate resume.

Managers will have a similar list. They want to know what you have done to help them be more successful. Sometimes they will ignore items that help other managers, but sometimes they see the benefit to these extra projects.

Sometimes going out on a limb, and only being partially successful can also be considered a victory. I have know employees who volunteered for a position that was outside of their comfort zone in order to allow the company to fill a gap. If they didn't fill the position they would lose money. An employee that does this should be recognized.

You should start with listing everything you can think of, and don't worry about an item being too small. Then pare it down before the final submission. You can either go for a small number of grand slams, or a larger number of homeruns. Don't try to say the CEO only cares about projects or skills, they frequently want to see both. I wouldn't include a photo, it shouldn't be relevant to who gets the bonus.

And start working on the list for next year: flag every positive email, note every emergency call, every new skill learned when they happen, not just a few days before the letter is due.

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