How to Ask for a Raise in Four Simple Steps

Shaun Enders

Do you feel it’s time to ask your boss for a raise? Are you ready to begin making the salary you think you’re worth? By carefully considering how to best ask for a pay raise, you can boost your chances of increasing your income and total compensation.

Below are four simple steps to positively influence your chances of getting the raise you desire.

1. Compile Documentation of Your Performance

Knowing what the market says about the proper salary for your position is a great place to start. However, if you’re a Rockstar employee, you can justify asking for a wage at the higher end of the spectrum. Thus, it is essential to be able to speak to your performance.

Review past performance appraisals and keep a record of current accomplishments that might not yet be reflected on a performance appraisal. Include projects you’ve worked on and completed and the value your work has added to the team, department, and organization. The more quantitative you can be, the better. In other words, use numbers as much as possible to describe your accomplishments. For example, what percentage of increase did you have in product sales, or how much did your project save the company on costs?

2. Clarify the Increase You Want

During a salary discussion, the last thing you want to do is come across as wishy-washy. Get clear on how much of a raise you think is fair based on your research and performance, and go in with that amount. Also, consider the minimum pay that would satisfy you enough to remain at the organization with a sense of peace. Being too broad or general will hurt your chances of getting the raise vs. going in and being direct about the amount you’re seeking.

3. Assess the Best Timing to Ask

Factoring in the timing of when to ask for a raise directly impacts the results of your request. Assess what’s going on in the organization and your department to determine if it’s an appropriate time to ask for a salary increase. For example, if layoffs were recently announced, it’s not a good time to ask. Additionally, if you received a raise six months ago, it may be a bit premature to justify an additional raise. Instead, begin laying the groundwork as you get closer to that annual mark.

4. Be Ready to Negotiate

As mentioned above, be patient. If your manager comes back with less than you requested or even a denial of your request, it’s ok and reasonable for you to negotiate to see if you can get closer to your request or at least some level of a raise in the scenario where you’re initially told “no.” Further, a “no” today doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be denied a pay raise perpetually. Consider asking your manager when a good time would be to approach the subject again if the answer is initially “no.”

Use the steps above to go into your salary discussion with a plan. Even if the results aren’t what you desire, you’ll be better equipped for subsequent salary discussions at your current or next organization.

Remember to be creative when asking for more. Perhaps you would like a flexible schedule, larger bonus plan. more time off or different responsibilities.

Negotiating for more doesn’t always have to include a base salary increase.

What Not to Do

While there are steps to take to increase your chances of getting a raise, there are also a few things to avoid doing to increase your chances of a positive outcome.

  • Don’t be overly confident or underconfident. Avoid coming across as overly confident while also avoiding coming across as underconfident by using phrases like “I’m not sure if…” or “I think this is accurate, but…”
  • Don’t be unprofessional. If you don’t like your manager’s response or are disheartened by the conversation, choose to handle your response professionally.
  • Don’t give up too quickly. If you don’t get the response you’re hoping for initially, make an effort to ask questions as to why and attempt to negotiate instead of giving up right away. Sometimes, the right level of persuasion can get the job done or at least help you build your case for a raise sooner than later.
  • Don’t quit if at first you don’t succeed. Just because you didn’t get the answer you were looking for, change perspectives and look from the employers’ perspective. Ask your employer what you can do to better your chances of raise in the near future. If they aren’t willing to talk seriously about a roadmap to greater financial success, it might be time to leave.

Once you make your case, don’t expect an answer immediately. Your manager will likely ask for some time to consider your points and presumably must discuss your request with others who are part of the approval process. That said, it is fair for you to ask when you might receive a response. If they aren’t willing to talk seriously about a roadmap to greater financial success, it might be time to leave.