10 Tips to Remember When Asking for a Raise

Hoping for raise
Photo by G-Stock Studio / Shutterstock.com

We know: You’ve worked hard, shown up on time and added to the company’s bottom line. It’s time for a raise, right?

Unfortunately, a history of superstar-level work doesn’t mean your boss will automatically grant you an increase. You might have to ask for it. If that’s the case, here are 10 tips to help you out:

1. Learn the averages

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 in your area 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

When the boss asks what amount of increase 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. Identify a reasonable increase, then ask for a higher amount, just in case the 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 the 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, it’s a good time to ask for a raise.

5. Don’t 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. Explain why you deserve more money, not why you need it.

6. Don’t 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 about salary. If you’re worried you won’t be able to keep a stiff upper lip, practice your negotiation skills ahead of time.

7. Avoid bombarding 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 also have more time to make your case.

8. Forget about demanding 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.

9. Avoid asking for what you don’t deserve

Before you ask the 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 have gotten a bad performance review, now probably isn’t the best time to ask for more money.

10. Don’t threaten to quit

If you threaten to quit when negotiations get heated, 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 story on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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