5 Tips on How to Ask for a Raise

5 Tips on How to Ask for a Raise

You’ve been in your position at work for a while now and you feel it’s time for a raise.

But the thought of asking for one makes you break out in a cold sweat… so you put it off indefinitely.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

It’s understandable to be nervous. Asking for a raise can be seen as rude or even taboo.

It can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be hard. If you keep these things in mind, you’ll feel more prepared and confident when you go into that meeting with the boss:

  1. Evaluate your request first. Are you asking because you need more money or are you asking because you demonstrated that you deserve a raise? Have you been working in your position for a year or more? When was your last raise? Have your job duties changed recently? Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly.
  1. Asking for a raise is common. It won’t be the first time your boss hears a request for a raise, and it certainly won’t be the last. That should help take some of the pressure off.

  1. Time your request right. Be aware of when salary changes normally occur in your company — and plan to ask a few months in advance. Your company may decide on pay raises at the end of the year, or they might evaluate pay scale around the anniversary of when you were hired. Whatever the case… give them some advance notice. They’ll then have time to consider your request before finalizing the yearly budget or locking in your pay rate for the year.
  1. Know your worth. Do some research online before asking for a raise and get a good feel for the general salary range for your job. What you find online won’t be tailored to where you live or your particular organization, so ask others in your field (not in your company) what they think a fair salary would be. Knowing if you’re being paid below the norm or if you are already being compensated above the average will help you set your expectations and avoid over- or undervaluing your work.
  1. Be prepared with a concise way to pose your question. You might even want to practice a few times at home so you’re comfortable with what you’re going to say.

And speaking of what you’re going to say, what are you going to say?

In general, you’ll want to start with something positive, follow with honest but succinct reasons you deserve a raise and finish with a clear “call to action.”

Here’s what that might sound like:

“I want to start off by saying how much I enjoy working here and that I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had lately to grow in my performance.

“As you know, I’ve been in my position for over a year now and in the last six months, I’ve had the opportunity to take the lead on several projects and have taken on five new clients.

“I’ve gotten good feedback about my work so far, and I was wondering if we could talk about adjusting my salary to reflect my performance and these new responsibilities?”

Of course, this is just a template. Get specific on the projects or successes you’ve achieved.

And tailor it to the relationship with your boss. Don’t get caught up in the exact wording. Make it sound clean and natural for you.

Remember, if you are honest, polite and positive, the worst thing that could happen is that you’ll hear a “no,” and you won’t be any worse off than before.

Which brings me to this: What if you are turned down? Be prepared for that possibility as well.

And if it happens, consider responding with something like this:

“I understand. Thanks for your time… and do you have any suggestions about how I might improve my performance and how I might earn a pay raise in the future?”

You can use the feedback you get as a learning experience and it may open the door to better communication and understanding as well.

Whatever the reason, you’ll have information that can help you decide what to do next. In the long run, that can be even more valuable than a raise.

With purpose,

Patrick Gentempo

Patrick Gentempo