How to Ask for a Raise (and Get One)

With an ever expanding global workforce and a recent emphasis on bigger checks for upper management, raises for reliable employees can be hard to come by, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t getting them. They’re just not handed out as freely.

But the cost of living continues to rise, and if your salary isn’t following in kind, then you’re losing money. But don’t bust down your boss’ door and demand more money. Even if you deserve it, you’re not going to get it that way.

So, what is the best way to ask for a raise that won’t risk your reputation with your boss? Follow these suggestions on how to ask for a raise, and when they work, share the wealth with us.

How to Ask for a Raise Infographic

Set Up a Meeting

Asking for a raise is a bit like a project, and like a project you don’t want to wing it. You need to plan and schedule. Check your work calendar or project management software to find the right time to speak to your boss.

That means resisting the temptation to grab your boss in the hallway and blurt out that you want a raise. You don’t want to catch your boss unprepared or, worse, irritated by the interruption. Therefore, go through the channels in your organization, and set up an appointment to meet privately.

Be Prepared

It’s one thing to expect a raise, but it’s another thing to explain why you deserve one. Don’t assume that your boss is going to point out all the reasons why you deserve more money. So, when you meet, make sure that you have a strong argument for the raise.

If you want to have documentation charting all of your accomplishments, great, but it’s more important to be mentally prepared in case you have to explain why you deserve a raise.

Practice Your Pitch

It’s essential to prepare reasons for a salary increase, but part of winning that raise is your presentation. Take the time to practice your pitch. You don’t want a good argument to get lost in a bad presentation.

Speak clearly and firmly. Rehearse what you’re going to say until it comes naturally, and prepare yourself for what the boss might ask you. Think of it as risk management. Consider what might come up, and prepare your answers.

Dress Professionally

While it’s true that business casual tends to lean more toward casual nowadays, dressing appropriately shows respect and professionalism. Of course, remember to keep it in context. If you’re working at a company where casual is the norm, then wearing a three-piece suit is overkill.

Maintain Eye Contact

When you’re talking to your boss, you don’t want to appear timid or distracted. The boss’ time is important, so you need to be fully present. That includes locking eyes with the boss, not in an aggressive way, of course, but in a way that shows you’re serious and that you’re paying attention.

Keep It Professional, Not Personal

There are surely personal reasons why you want more money. Maybe you’re going to have a child, or your significant other lost their job. You might just want to take a vacation.

Those are all legitimate reasons, but they’re unlikely to sway your boss unless you have a very close relationship. You deserve the raise for the work you’ve done in the office first and foremost, and that’s where your focus should stay to bolster your chances of getting that pay increase.

Show That You Add Value

Business is business, after all, and the goal of business is to make a profit. So, how have you helped the company make money? Don’t be shy, explain how you’re an asset to the organization and that whatever compensation you receive for your work is more than made up by your productivity.

Know Your Market Value

You might add value to the company, but you also have a value in the marketplace. Do the research to figure out how much a person in your position, with your experience and tenure, makes in the same geographical area. This way you won’t under- or oversell yourself.

Share Your Goals

Show that you have ambitions to expand your reach within the organization. If you’ve been working in one role for some time, note where you see your talents being helpful elsewhere, while keeping clear that your priorities are with your current role. But let your boss know that you have skills that could be used elsewhere and that you want to set down roots in the company and grow.

Ask for More Responsibilities

Whether you get the raise or not, be willing to take on more work. This exhibits the right attitude, but also puts you on track to raise in the ranks and have that reflected in your salary. In a sense, you’re putting yourself in position to get compensated, and you’re proving your value to your boss by taking on extra responsibilities.

Ask for Feedback… Even If It’s Negative

As part of the process of asking for a raise, you’ll want to open a dialogue. Ask for what you want, but also seek any insight from your boss regarding your performance. If you do get some negative feedback, take it in stride. It’s likely that the boss is only showing you areas to improve. Let the boss know that you’ve heard the criticisms, and explain how you’re going to address them going forward.

Be Prepared Not to Get the Raise

You don’t want to defeat yourself before you’ve asked, but at the same time you can’t expect that the raise is guaranteed. Know that there is a possibility that you won’t get the raise, and that the reason could have nothing to do with you. There might be other forces at play that prevent the extra expenditure.

We hope that you get the raise but get mentally prepared to be turned down so you can roll with the blow. Not to be a bummer, but there’ll be more opportunities to ask again in the future.

If you’re looking to excel at work and chart your successes, a project management software can help. is a cloud-based software with features such as a real-time dashboard and online Gantt charts for scheduling. It’ll help you work more efficiently and productively, and you can use easy reporting tools to make a professional presentation when seeking that well-deserved raise. Try it today and see how it can help you meet your career goals by taking this free 30-day trial.

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