How to Ask for a Raise

by Miranda Marquit · 4 comments

At some point in your career, you probably look at your situation and wonder if it’s time you were paid more.

We all get there.

However, it can be difficult to actually ask for a raise.

If you are ready to ask for more money, here are some things to keep in mind:

Timing Matters

First of all, when you ask can make a big difference. Pay attention to your boss. When is he or she usually in a better mood?

You don’t want to ask for a raise on a Friday afternoon when all anyone wants to do is wrap up a few loose ends and get on with the weekend.

Instead, pay attention to when your boss is likely to have free time, and energy to have a discussion about your pay.

While you’re at it, realize that you don’t just walk up and ask for a raise. Instead, you should make an appointment to talk about it. Approach your boss at a convenient time, and ask if you can set an appointment. Then, try to make that appointment for another convenient time. Not only will that show your boss that you are treating this request seriously, you also leave yourself some time to prepare.

Know Your Stuff

Asking for a raise isn’t about just walking in and saying you want a raise. And it’s certainly not about telling your boss that you are experiencing some tough times and you think a raise will help the situation.

Instead, you need to be able to demonstrate why you deserve a raise.

This means you need to research. What are other people in similar positions, with similar education and experience getting paid? What is the going rate in your local area?

On top of that, you should be able to show your value to the company. Have you helped improve sales in the last few months? Have you saved the company money? Have you taken on additional responsibilities?

When you show that you are an asset to the company, you are more likely to get the raise. When you ask for a raise, you should focus on what you do for the company, not what you need in your personal life.

Be Ready to Compromise

You might not get what you ask for. Depending on the situation at the company, and the realities of the situation, it might not be feasible to give you the raise you want. You might have to settle for a smaller raise.

Or, on the other hand, you might need to look for creative solutions. Maybe the company can’t give you a monetary raise, but perhaps you can arrange for more paid vacation. Or perhaps you can work out a more flexible schedule.

That’s why it’s good to think about non-monetary things that might be of value to you ahead of time. Those are items that you can ask for if a raise just isn’t in the cards.

It’s never fun to ask for a raise, but you might need to do it to get ahead financially. As long as you do it properly, you are more likely to see an outcome that is acceptable to you.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Cory @ Growing Dollars From says:

    People think the worst can happen from asking for a raise but really they have nothing to lose.

    The worst thing that may happen is your boss saying no.

    That’s not all bad, at least you tried.

    Who knows, your boss may actually think about the request later and offer you a raise.

  • Easy F says:

    It took me a few weeks to muster up the will to ask for a raise. I was super worried about it and the kind of fallout it could cause with my boss but when I talked to him it all went so much better than I expected. He was happy I came to talk about it and liked willingness to come to him – I got the raise!

  • CentSai says:

    Great article! This is extremely helpful to all those out there trying to work up the motivation to ask for a raise (the right way)! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Steve from Arkansas says:

    That was a good post. The only thing that might be worth adding only applies to skill sets that are in demand. In my case I was a chemical engineer and those are often in short supply but so are many others. If you are in a field where head hunters/recruiters seek you out for other jobs then I found that sharing the offers they tell you about to your supervisor in a casual way has more credibility than type information. But I wouldn’t do that until I had established myself as a star performer. In my case my biggest raises and promotions were as a result of my letting it be known that other companies wanted me. You have to be completely honest and willing to leave if it backfires and pick your opportunities. You can’t do this every single year or they will decide you are too high maintenance!

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