When (And How) To Ask For A Raise

Woman asks her boss for a raise

Asking for a raise is probably as hard as breaking up with your high school boyfriend or girlfriend. It's something that you know you need to do in order to grow, but you're not exactly sure when and how to do it.

The truth is, you will probably need to ask for a raise at some point in your life. Like our parents always said, "If you want something, you gotta ask for it!"

Here are a few ways you can ask for a raise, and get the timing right.

When To Ask For A Raise

Woman asks her manager for a raise


In this case, it's a bit easier to establish when NOT to ask for a raise. These are the times that it might not work out too well:

  1. During a review - this way your boss will have compiled all the reasons why he shouldn't be giving you a raise and he will be the one with the facts and numbers.
  2. When you are emotional - approaching the conversation when you are angry or sad will definitely not set the right tone for the talk to take place.
  3. During layoffs - they probably had to let someone go because they cannot afford them. Instead of getting a raise, you might just be shown the door.
  4. When you already got a raise this year - okay, now you might just be overeager.

The best time to ask your boss for a raise is probably right after you've completed a successful project. The project details and your influence will still be fresh in his/her memory. If your role in the project is the reason for its success then there isn't a more perfect time. Also, if you've been doing great work overall and haven't received a raise in over 12 months, you might be able to make a powerful case for one.

How To Ask For A Raise

Employee asks her boss for a raise


Here are some tips for asking for a raise:

Prepare Yourself

First, you need to determine your worth. If you don't know why you should be earning more, how could you sell the idea to your boss?

Before approaching your boss to ask for a raise, you should look at the salaries in your industry. How much are your "peers" in the industry being paid? Are you being realistic with your expectations? Start preparing your research now to determine whether you're getting paid enough. Don't wait for your annual review or for your boss to start the conversation.

Ease Into It

Don't walk into the office throwing numbers and statistics around. This is a conversation that should be eased into. Ask your boss what he/she thinks about your performance and achievements in the past few months. This way, you will be able to get an idea of your manager's general opinion of you, and whether it's positive or negative.

Since you've also done your research, you will be able to explain to them why you are such an asset and why you deserve to get a raise. See if you can find common ground in the conversation where you could introduce the topic.

Avoid Complaining

This meeting should be handled in the exact manner that any business meeting would. It's about listing the facts and not trying to play an emotional or personal card. The last thing your boss would want is more issues. So, don't start out by telling him/her that you work weekends, barely see your family, and are on the verge of a mental breakdown. Bring solutions to the table, instead of complaints.

Remember, you want to keep working for this company. It's not a "raise or quit" situation, so don't over complicate things. Using complaints to add to your argument just shows that you didn't prepare well enough. It's also simply unprofessional.

Ask The Right Questions

When discussing the topic of a raise, ask your boss what their expectations are in giving a raise to an employee. What should you be doing to ensure a raise in the future? If they mention a lot of things that you've already accomplished or are currently doing, you could bring this to their attention. This way, they will be thinking that they're giving you a raise according to their standards, not yours.

Raises are about what you've done, but they have more to do with what you'll do in the future. If you've only proven to be a mediocre asset to the company, your boss will be hard-pressed to give you anything other than what you've earned.

Some raise requests might take a series of conversations. Don't get discouraged, but make sure that you understand why now is not the right time. Ask what you could change and why they think it's not the right time. Ask them precisely what it would take for you to get a raise, then over-deliver. You'll have a strong case at the next meeting.

Download Work It Daily\u2019s free list of common interview questions

Asking for a raise isn't easy. You need to get the timing right and enough evidence to support your case. Don't rush into the conversation. Make sure you have your ducks in a row, and then you'll be able to walk into your manager's office confidently and with the odds in your favor.

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This post was originally published at an earlier date.