How to Ask for a Raise and Actually Get It

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Almost everyone thinks that they are worth more than what they’re being paid. But asking for a raise is always a difficult conversation to have with your boss. These conversations are often uncomfortable or at times, may be met with an outright refusal. Thus, many people are reluctant to ask for it. On the other hand, not asking at all is a sure way that you won’t get it.

So how do you prepare for it and how do you make it easier for your boss to agree with you? Preparation is the key. Here are some helpful suggestions on how to ask for the raise you deserve.

1. Know how much you’re worth
Gather information about industry-wide salary standards so you’ll have a reasonable figure in mind. You can learn this by networking with your peers working at other companies or checking with salary comparison websites. Keep in mind that the same title may not mean the same thing, so you need to compare responsibilities as well when making cross-company comparisons.

2. Learn about your company’s pay practices.
Knowing the salary range for your position within your own company also helps you to target for a reasonable pay raise. Companies have varying willingness when it comes to publicly issuing pay scales and compensation policies. You can check for these in the company website or in the employee manual. Otherwise, you can ask your HR manager for internal and external pay ranges for your position.

3. Ask for your boss’s criteria.
It’s best to know your manager’s criteria for moving someone into a promotion or for giving someone a raise well before you go in and actually ask for one. Asking your boss for his/her criteria might even start some helpful discussion on the subject.

4. Don’t wait for your performance appraisal to ask for a raise.
You may think that waiting for your performance appraisal may be the best time to ask for a raise, but that’s often not the case. Most companies make their salary decisions before performance appraisals are reviewed with employees, so it’s best to have it on the table before review time. For instance, if your company does performance appraisals in January, you should make your request for a raise in November.

5. Time your request wisely.
The best time to ask for a raise is when you’ve just accomplished a successful project, resolved a huge problem, taken on new responsibilities or have just done something noteworthy. Contributions such as these help bolster up your case. But if you’ve fallen short of your key point objectives or have just had a major screw up, forget about asking the raise for a while.

6. Sell yourself.
You’ll obviously be given a raise for the added value that you’re bringing to the company, such as your attitude, work ethic and/or outstanding ability. Whether you have 5 kids to support or you’re in debt is irrelevant. Don’t ask for a raise because you need it. Sell your boss on the fact that your performance and output are worth it.

7. Consider the right approach to use with your boss.
Figure out which approach works best with your boss’s personality and idiosyncrasies. Would an aggressive sales pitch work or would a data driven presentation of the facts be best suited instead. Present your argument in a manner that would most likely succeed with your boss.

8. Believe in your worth.
If you don’t believe you’re deserving of a raise, do you think your boss will believe it too? Believe in your capabilities and what these capabilities can bring to your company. Show it in your actions and in your words.

9. Set a realistic pay raise.
Just as you wouldn’t pay a minivan with a luxury car price, no company would pay a secretary with an executive’s wage. Every job has a maximum worth and once you’ve exceeded it, the chances of a salary increase is only likely if the market value for the job itself increases.

10. Just do it and take the plunge.
Some people become anxious when asking for a raise. Gather data, organize your thoughts, be confident, believe in yourself and just do it. The worse thing that could happen is your manager would have to turn you down, but most managers won’t take it against you if you ask.

If you do get that no, don’t feel embarrassed. Smile and say that you understand that it’s impossible to get a raise now, but would like to know when and how your request might be considered.

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