Everything You Need to Know About Asking For a Raise

Blog | November 1st, 2020

Asking for a raise can be a tough thing to do for a variety of reasons, even if you really need the money or think you’re overdue for one. You might hate confrontation and be too anxious to approach your boss about something they may say no to. Or if you’re shy and humble, you might be nervous to brag about your accomplishments to others. 

However, the old adage of “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is very true, and you might not get a raise until you ask for it. Asking for a raise doesn’t have to be scary, though. With these tips, you’ll feel confident enough to ask for what you deserve.

When to Ask

Timing is everything. If you just had an employee review and didn’t ask for a raise, consider how it might look to call an additional meeting now to ask for one. If you have an employee review already on the calendar, wait it out and make your case then. 

Try not to ask for a raise if your company is struggling or has a hiring freeze, because you’ll be turned down even if you really deserve it.

If you’re new to the company, you’ll want to wait at least six months before you ask, as this gives you time to demonstrate your value as an employee.

Find Comparable Positions

The first step should be doing a little background research on your position’s pay. Find job listings in cities and companies similar to yours and see what the salary is. Is it a lot higher than yours? Are you comfortable asking for that amount?

If comparable positions pay lower than your current salary, make sure you’re ready to explain why you deserve a higher raise and have a set number in mind. Glassdoor has a great resource called Know Your Worth that can give you a good salary estimate.

Go over your employment contract, if you signed one, and make sure you’re hitting that baseline. If you have records of your previous employment reviews, go over those as well. It’s important to make sure you’re hitting all the benchmarks so that you can demonstrate your hard work.

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List Your Accomplishments

Look over your resume and make sure it is up-to-date and highlights your relevant accomplishments. Consider updating it with what you’ve done in your current position, and list these to bring up with your boss. 

Be as specific as possible; if you have sales data or numbers, have them ready as evidence. Express gratitude at all the company has done to enable you to accomplish these tasks. Make sure to come off as grateful for your current salary, even as you’re asking for more.

Set Goals

In addition to going over what you’ve done, look ahead. What do you hope to accomplish in your position? What goals do you have, how will they benefit the company, and what can the organization do to support you? 

Having all of this information thought out ahead of time will impress your boss because you’re not just coming in asking money you feel you’re entitled to, you’re showing how dedicated you are to the company and that they should invest in you. Be enthusiastic when you present these ideas to your boss so they know you’re eager to stay in your role.

Be Professional

Don’t bring your personal life or finances into the meeting. You might be sick of living paycheck to paycheck, or you might have debt to pay off, but your boss doesn’t need to know this. They won’t give you money just because you need it—you need to be professional and show that you’ve earned it by working hard.

Being professional also extends to your demeanor. Be firm about what you’ve already done and what you plan to do. Don’t belittle your work! This will make you look like you’re lacking confidence, which is the exact opposite of how you want to look in this situation.

You can accept deserved praise without downplaying it. Brushing off your accomplishments undermines the whole reason you’re trying to get a raise—your hard work and dedication.

Related: Nine Tips To Ensure You Work From Home Successfully

Set Expectations

If your boss agrees to the raise, congratulations! The excitement of hearing a yes might cloud your mind, but make sure you keep asking the hard questions. 

You need to know when the raise will go into effect. Does it come with a title change? Will your job duties increase? If you brought up goals you want to accomplish in the upcoming year, will those be something you’ll need to work on as part of the raise? Do you need to complete them before you’ll get the raise?

What If Your Boss Says No?

If your boss says they need to think about it, or if you get a flat-out no, the work isn’t over yet. Don’t get angry or take it personally. Ask what you need to accomplish before the raise could be possible. Schedule a follow-up meeting. Don’t get discouraged! 

You might not be eligible for a raise because you’re already at the top of your position, so the next step is actually a promotion. If the company is financially unable to give you a raise, don’t be afraid to ask for other perks, like extra vacation days, a new job title, or the ability to work from home part-time.

If your boss can’t give you any information about what it will take to get a raise or promotion in the future, it might be time to look at other jobs so you can be getting the most out of your work efforts. This is a bummer, but don’t get discouraged—you’ve already done the legwork of highlighting your accomplishments, so updating your resume will be a breeze.