If you want professional enrichment but can't afford it on your salary, write a letter asking your boss to foot the bill. Receiving additional training can hold benefits for you and your employer that -- hopefully -- will make it hard for him to say no. And if he does say no, just by asking, you will have shown yourself to be brave, forward thinking and eager to learn.
When writing a letter of request for training, format and send your letter formally so your boss understands you’re serious. Use company letterhead if possible, with a professional heading and greeting. Even if you’re on a first-name basis with your boss and you could simply ask him in person, format your request in a manner that can’t be ignored or dismissed. If you choose to send your request via email, drop a hard copy in his mailbox as well.
In your letter of request, include all the details about the training session you want to attend -- not only for your boss’s sake, but for any higher-ups from whom he might have to get final approval. Include the name of the company that’s holding the training, the specific title and objective of the training, when and where it will be held and for how long. Include exactly what it is you’re asking for, and the estimated cost to the company. For example, if the training is being held out of town, explain how much you’ll need for travel expenses, hotel and food. If you’re willing to pay for any of those expenses on your own, say so.
In case your boss needs convincing, detail the benefits -- both to you and the company -- that can be gained from your training. Detail what you hope to learn, and how you plan to apply the knowledge to your position. Perhaps your new skill set will mean the company can save money on hiring consultants in the future, or maybe you can come back and hold your own training to teach employees what you’ve learned. If you’ve listed self-improvement as a goal on a recent personal evaluation, sell the training as proof that you’re moving toward the finish line. If you need additional ammunition, an article on ComputerWorld.com recommends finding other professionals who have completed a similar training, and discuss their experience in terms of the benefits you expect.
Anticipate any doubts your boss might have and address them in the letter. He might wonder how the company can handle your absence, for example. Brent Ozar Unlimited, a company that specializes in business solutions, recommends explaining how you can work long distance from the training. If you actually need someone to cover your shift, explain that you’ve already discussed the opportunity with other co-workers who are willing to fill the gap. If your manager is worried about the cost, do some price comparisons with other trainings. Although the registration fee might be expensive, it could actually be a discounted rate when compared to other companies. If your training is the most expensive, explain the reason. Perhaps you’ll have access to top knowledge you couldn’t get anywhere else.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.