How to Ask for a Raise

Ask for a Raise

When you ask for a raise you enter a stressful moment for everyone involved.  You may believe you’ve earned an increase in salary, but can you convince your employer?  Your employer may understand that the greatest assets to the company are its employees, but there are budgets to consider.

Neither of you wants to offend or create dissent.  And both of you may have concerns about your negotiation skills.

It’s a stage set for nervousness.  Regardless, you aim to be respectful, courteous, and maintain your dignity.

Check in with Yourself

Just because you think you should ask for a raise doesn’t mean you can prove you deserve one.  Your first consideration should be if you have been recognizably respectful of your and your employer’s roles in the company from the start.

  • Your employer has the interests of the company at stake.  Is your role in the success of the company evident?
  • Have you already had discussions with your employer regarding what your performance should look like in the position you were hired for?  Were your career path and goals outlined?
  • Have you implemented the action items that came from those discussions?  Have you held yourself accountable to the goals you and your employer or management agreed were reasonable for your position?
  • If you’ve exceeded expectations, you are in the category of readiness for a raise.  (The acid test is added value created.)

Be Prepared

This is where you take on the burden of proof.  Think of it as gathering evidence to present your case. 

  • If you truly have added value to the company, you will be able to pull together the details to support this truth.
  • What have you done to add more value than what was expected of you?  This is where numbers are convincing regardless of the field or industry.
  • Does your attitude reflect your belief about your impact on the company’s success?  Do you have proof that you’ve over-delivered in effort to complete and assist with tasks and projects?  Have you been awarded recognition for doing so?
  • Prepare these and other details to make your case.  Keep in mind that when you ask for a raise it should be a conversation, not a monologue.  Practice with someone who can role play the scenario with you.

When you can present your case convincingly and from the heart, you are ready for the next step.

Ask for a Raise

Your main consideration at this step is whether this is a conversation worth having.  And it is dependent on the timing of your request. 

Perhaps you just had a great performance review or completed a successful project.  Either of these would make it a good time to ask for a raise.  You might request a meeting by saying, “I’d like to set up a meeting to discuss my progress in my position.  Could I have thirty minutes of your time when it’s convenient?”

When you have your meeting:

  • Express gratitude for the meeting and for consideration of what you will be proposing.
  • Observe the give and take of conversation.
  • Keep your tone friendly and cooperative.
  • Be understanding of the challenges your employer faces.
  • Leaving the conversation on an upbeat note is always a win and should be your goal.  Eye-to-eye communication and a handshake closes any conversation in a peaceful way.
  • Saying “thank you” is always a respectful way to end a conversation of any kind.

If the Answer is “No”

Though it may be difficult to consider, you should think through what the implications are if you don’t get what you are asking for.  There are any number of reasons why you may not be given a raise.  It’s up to you to decide how you will handle it.

  • Stay open for after-meeting awareness.  You may have another idea that would help your boss solve for something, giving yourself another mark of added value.
  • Could you be happy with a mutually-made plan for a raise to work into the future?  Remaining open to possibility may be appropriate in this situation.
  • Whatever you decide, have a pro-active attitude.
  • If you decide to leave the company, there will be time to consider next steps.
  • When you leave, offer empathy and best wishes for the company.

Handling an anxious situation like asking for a raise in an etiquette-ful manner will make you unforgettable.

Want more perspective on how to ask for a raise on your first job?  Check out this article from Universal Owl.

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