​Asking for a Raise: How-Tos and How-Nots

Up to this point, you have done everything the company has ever asked of you. You strove to meet and exceed expectations, and time and again, you’ve proven your value as an employee. After all that hard work, you believe that you deserve more than what you’re getting. It’s time to ask for a raise.

Unfortunately, you don’t know how to go about it.

Relax, it’s normal to feel that way. Most people find the process of requesting a salary increase a challenging task if not an extremely difficult one. But ultimately, you need to find the courage to speak up and tell your boss what you really want. Below, you’ll find the key to talking to your boss with confidence and finally scoring the raise that you truly deserve.

How to ask for a raise:

1. Schedule a meeting

Don’t just pop the ‘raise question’ out of the blue the next time you pass your boss on the hallway or meet him in the elevator. Instead, let them know that you would like the opportunity to talk about a raise, then follow it up by scheduling an appointment to discuss it more thoroughly. By asking in advance, you show that you are considerate of your boss’s time. You also give them time to prepare and review your accomplishments, so they can see for themselves that you are worth the additional salary that you plan to ask for.

2. Ask after successfully completing a significant task or project

A good time to request the meeting is right after you have achieved an important milestone or superbly delivered on an important task. A recent success helps you build momentum for a salary increase, so capitalize on it by timing your request properly.

3. Document the details of your accomplishments

Brainstorm a list of quantifiable reasons as to why you deserve a raise. Note how your accomplishments impacted your department and company as a whole. Cite specific numbers and statistics if you can. Even if your manager knows you are doing good work, they may not be aware of the scope of your achievements, or how impressive they actually are. Rehearse what you’re going to say so you can confidently deliver the information. The stronger your case, the more you can convince your boss that your raise is well-deserved.

4. Give a specific number

You must do research to know what a competitive salary is for your job position. Look up job listings to get an idea of how much you should ask. Take into consideration your geography, experience, skills, and other relevant factors. If you find out that you’re underpaid, you can use the information to strengthen your case. On the other hand, if you learn that you’re at the top of the market as it is, you can still use that information to negotiate a reasonable amount.

5. Let your boss know how they can benefit from giving you a raise

It would be a mistake to include your dire financial situation as your reason for a raise—the company hardly cares if you’re neck-deep in debt and expenses. What you need to do is to identify the benefits that your raise would deliver to the company. After enumerating your successes, tell them about your plans moving forward. Create a list of goals and explain how you will achieve them for the company.

How NOT to ask for a raise:

1. Don’t ask through emails or text messages

Although you may schedule your meeting via email and other digital channels, questions about your raise should be asked in person. Send your boss an email requesting to talk about your salary. Just remember to be prepared with your list of accomplishments, as detailed above.

2. Don’t ask at a high-stress time

Remember that your manager is a person who may succumb to emotions just like you. That means you shouldn’t ask to meet about your salary when they are looking particularly stressed or overworked. On the other hand, if you see that your boss is in a good mood, or if he or she seems pleased with your recent performance, you may be in an excellent position to make the request.

3. Don’t compare your salary to your colleague’s

Even if you know for a fact that a co-worker who has the same job description as you is earning more, avoid bringing other people’s salary up in your discussion—even if you believe you deserve equal or more pay. Quite simply, it is an unprofessional thing to do. Just focus on your own personal accomplishments and what the job market dictates you should earn.

4. Don’t doubt yourself

Be confident when asking for a raise. Prepare to be grilled and show your boss you deserve it. Be firm with the number you’re asking for, and use your list of reasons to support your case. Even if the answer is no, continue to work hard. There will always be other opportunities to ask. Who knows? Maybe on the next time, your boss will realize what you’re truly worth.

5. Don’t feel bad if your request is denied

There’s always the possibility that your boss will deny your request for a raise, so it’s best to have other options that you can present as alternatives to a salary increase. For instance, what about working from home a couple of days a week? Better office privileges? Additional training? Or what about lowering your asking price? There’s always room to negotiate when it comes to asking for a raise, and your boss may be more accommodating to subsequent requests after saying no to your major one.

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