How To Ask For a Raise

How To Ask For a Raise

Are you making what you deserve? At some point in your career, you'll need to ask for a raise. If you haven't had a raise in a while or suspect that you're underpaid, it's time to stand up for yourself. But requesting a raise is easier said than done. Find out how you should go about asking for an increase in your salary.

Pay Attention to the Timing

Even if you deserve more money, there's no guarantee your boss will give it to you. They need to do what's right for the business, and this could mean refusing a raise because of the current economy or their budget. If you want to improve your chances of a successful request, you need to time your conversation well.

Before you ask for a raise, consider the current state of the company. Are things going well, or is money tight? You should wait until the company is doing well and the economy is favorable, or a raise may not be possible. If you ask for a raise when the company is struggling, you need to acknowledge the situation. Make it clear that you're aware of the recent financial issues, so ask for a raise in the coming year.

With that said, you should never ask for a raise when your company is going through layoffs. Your employer can only offer you a raise if they have the funds. So, before you ask for an increase in pay, think about the current situation. Will things improve in a few months? Use your knowledge of the company to predict the future and decide when you should bring up the conversation.

Research the Facts

You should always go into a discussion about your pay armed with information. Before you bring up the subject, spend some time researching the average pay of someone in your role. If your company is transparent about pay, ask HR to disclose the salary ranges of other employees. You may even be able to find the information online. Determine how much someone in your role should be making, and compare that number to your current salary.

If there's a national professional organization for your industry, reach out to them. Ask them how much someone in your position should make, and be sure to point out your skills and experience. They should be able to give you some guidelines and help you determine a fair salary.

You can also use salary databases to get an idea of how much you should make. However, these databases tend to vary greatly. They don't always account for experience, skills, and other details that could affect salary. For an accurate idea of how much you should make, use all of the available resources. Even your former bosses or colleagues may be able to shed some light on the issue. Use your network to find out how much of a raise you deserve.

How to Use the Information

The information you obtain will help you negotiate a raise. If you find out that the average salary of someone in your role is between $60,000 and $80,000, compare that range to what you make. Do you have extensive experience? If so, your salary should be at the higher end of the range.

When you ask for a raise, use this information to back up your request. Your employer may not realize that the average person in your position makes more than you do. When you present them with facts, your employer is much more likely to help.

Be Descriptive About Your Accomplishments

Once you know how much of a raise you should ask for, you should create a list of accomplishments. This list shows your employer why you deserve a raise. For optimal impact, you should use accomplishments you can quantify. For instance, you can quantify sales or productivity.

Start off with everything that happened at the beginning of the year. Include everything that showcases your value to the company. If you exceeded goals or expectations, be sure to mention it. Place everything on a bulleted list and bring it with you when you ask for a raise.

If you have ideas that would help the business, include those on a separate list. It's helpful to discuss your plans for the future and to show how you will bring value to the company going forward.

Have Alternatives

No matter how well you prepare yourself for a discussion about a raise, your boss could say no. Be prepared for a no and have a backup plan. A bigger paycheck isn't the only way to improve your situation.

At times, there's an option for a bonus. If your employer gives bonuses, ask for a bonus at the end of the year. Because it's not an ongoing increase in pay, a bonus may be more feasible for the company. Another option is to request better benefits. For starters, you can ask for more paid time off, reimbursement for expenses, or other benefits. It's not the same as a raise, but it still can improve the quality of your life.

Have a Plan

Whether your boss approves or denies your plan, you should have a follow-up plan. If they approve the raise, ask for the approval in writing and make sure HR sees it. And, if your boss needs time to think it over, set up a day and time to finish the discussion. Otherwise, the talk might never happen.  

You can also create a reminder on your own calendar. If your boss says no but is willing to revisit the discussion, set a reminder on your phone. In six months, you can approach the topic once again.

Look for Another Job

Your plan might involve looking for a new job. If you're underpaid and unhappy, start looking for a new job. There could be a better job out there with higher pay and more benefits. Start the job search to find out what's available!

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