4 Tips to Ask for a Raise (and 6 Ways Not To)

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U.S. employers plan to raise pay by an average of 2.9 percent in 2014, according to a recent survey by consulting firm Mercer. If you’re one of the company’s top producers, you can expect a bit more — about 4.6 percent.

But that doesn’t mean your boss will automatically grant you an increase. You might have to ask for it. If that’s the case, we have some tips to help you out.

1. Learn the averages

First things first, figure out what your work is worth in comparable workplaces. Visit sites like Salary.com and Glassdoor. Search for your job title and ZIP code to see what others in your field are earning. If you’re making less than the average and have valuable experience in your field, use this as leverage in salary negotiations.

2. Know how much you want

If you ask your boss for a raise and she asks you what amount you have in mind, be prepared to answer. If you’re unsure or offer an anything will do response, she probably won’t take you very seriously, and you’ll be less likely to get the raise you want. Identify a reasonable increase, then ask for a higher amount, just in case your supervisor wants to negotiate.

3. Know your value

Did you develop a new, more efficient filing system? Do you work independently, requiring little or no supervision? Are you the only person in the office who knows how to use the new corporate-mandated software? If you bring something unique to the table, you’re valuable to your employer. Now you need to state your case. Before you ask for a raise, make a list of your accomplishments and skills. Then present those as assets when you ask for more money.

4. Wait for the right time

Asking for a raise during layoffs, a hiring freeze, or when the company is underperforming is a surefire way not to get one. Instead, do your homework. Read the company emails, newsletters and annual reports you’ve been ignoring. If the company’s profits are growing, that’s a good time to ask for a raise.

What not to do

These mistakes will keep you from seeing a boost in your paycheck:

1. Make it personal

You’re asking for a raise because you’re a valuable employee, not because you need more money for personal reasons. When you’re negotiating, keep your personal life out of the equation. Telling your boss you need more money isn’t the way to get it. Explain why you deserve more money instead.

2. Get emotional

Much like making things personal, getting emotional won’t get you anywhere. Don’t cry, raise your voice, or act out while you’re talking salary. If you’re worried you won’t keep a stiff upper lip, practice your negotiation skills ahead of time. That’s probably a good idea in any case.

3. Bombard your boss

Marching into your boss’s office on a Monday morning and asking for a raise right out of the gate won’t get you one. Instead, schedule a time to meet with your boss when she can devote her full attention to you. Not only will she appreciate it, you’ll have more time to make your case.

4. Demand what a co-worker makes

Everyone wants to make at least what the guy in the next cubicle does, but this tactic won’t convince your boss to give you the same or a better salary. If a co-worker makes more than you do, there could be a reason – for instance, more job experience or a heavier workload. Besides, your boss won’t be impressed that you’re leveraging private company information.

5. Ask for what you don’t deserve

Before you ask your boss for a raise, ask yourself about the probability that you’ll get one. If you’ve been at the company for only five months, have missed a lot of work lately, or gotten a bad performance review, now probably isn’t the best time to ask for more money.

6. Threaten to quit

Threaten to quit when negotiations get heated and your boss may just take you up on it. Don’t even hint about quitting unless you have another job lined up.

Have you successfully negotiated a higher rate of pay? Share your success stories on our Facebook page.

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