How to Ask Your Boss for a Raise 101


By Patrick Oney Published on April 19, 2018

Wondering how to go about getting a raise at work? Amazingly, sometimes all it takes is asking. In fact, studies show that people (especially women) who don’t negotiate their salaries lose out on hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetime. And aside from the monetary benefits, asking for a raise has other benefits too, like boosting confidence and helping you learn where to improve in the workplace.

But asking your boss for a raise is no easy task. (Which is why many people avoid it altogether.) You can’t exactly just go into his or her office and demand a higher paycheck. There are some key elements you’ll want to understand before you try to go about it.

Navigating What Can Be a Tricky Conversation.

1.   A few months before you ask for the raise, start taking on more responsibility and step up your performance.

The most effective conversations about getting a raise are timed after a noticeable achievement you’ve made on the job. But if you haven’t received any special award or made a significant contribution, carve one out for yourself. Take time to really make a change, and then ask for the raise shortly after.

2.   Explain to your boss how you’ve added value to the company.

 Hopefully, your boss has already noticed how you’ve stepped it up in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come prepared with a list of your contributions. Focus on unique strengths you have and don’t be afraid to speak highly of yourself (just don’t brag in a prideful way).

3.   Don’t list off the monetary reasons why you need a raise.

Instead, talk about why you deserve the raise. No boss wants to hear about all the bills you have to pay or the new car you plan on purchasing.

4.   Schedule an in-person meeting.

Though it’s tempting to email your boss a long spiel about why you deserve a raise rather than face them in person, this is an important conversation that should be had face-to-face. Ask your boss if you can meet with them about an important topic, and respect their scheduling by arriving promptly and even dressing up for the occasion.

5.   Don’t ask for a huge jump in salary.

One huge mistake is to ask for an enormous jump in salary. Even if you have a goal salary you’d like to eventually achieve, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen all at once. And if your current salary is that far below your expectations, it’s a red flag to your employer that you may be the wrong person for the job. Figure out how much of a percentage increase you’re hoping for and try not to make it over 10 percent. In reality, a raise of 3-5 percent is most realistic.

6.   Review the company’s policy and make sure your requests are reasonable.

After you’ve made sure the amount of money you’re asking for is reasonable, make sure the timeline is as well. Most companies will outline their policies about employee reviews. These are a good time to ask for a raise. If you have received a raise within the past three months, it’s probably too soon to be asking for one again.

7.   Rehearse your conversation ahead of time.

 Practice makes perfect, and when you’re talking about a potentially awkward subject, it’s important to rehearse. Ask a friend or family member to play the role of your boss, and practice explaining why you deserve a raise.

8.   Talk about how your performance will be in the future.

The last thing you want to do is run off with a raise and continue doing the same level of work and having the same level of responsibility. This will disappoint your boss and make you unlikely to get another raise anytime soon. When you request the raise, be sure to include how this will affect your performance in the future and how it will benefit the company. 

By following these helpful tips, you’ll feel more prepared and at ease when you go in to talk to your boss about a salary increase. The conversation still may be difficult, but it will certainly be worth it, if and when you walk away with a higher salary.

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