In Career

If you’re not sure how to ask for a raise, we’re here to help. You’ve been performing well in a role for a while now and are ready to ask for a raise. Contemplating and taking the steps towards asking for a raise can cause anxiety for many people. Many will avoid asking for a pay raise because it is uncomfortable and they don’t feel confident in how to ask.

In this post, we’re going to cover how to ask for a raise:

  1. What are good reasons to ask for a raise?
  2. How to prepare to ask for a pay raise?
  3. How much of a raise should you ask for?
  4. What words do I use to ask for a raise?
  5. What NOT to say or do when aski ng for a pay raise.
  6. How can I stay confident when asking for a raise?

Whether you’re new in your career or have experience and feel it’s time to renegotiate your salary, read on!

A worker paying attention to his work, using common sense to improve his career and impress his manager

1. What are good reasons to ask for a raise?

Although everybody wants more money, there has to be significant reasons for a company to agree to pay you more. The company will need to see how and where you go above and beyond and be sold on why you’re worth the extra investment.

You are paid less than your peers in your field

Most workplaces are now offering new employees more money than people who have been working there for a long time. This is because the current job market is highly competitive and it is hard for employers to find good employees.

If you are not getting the pay that you deserve, check ads in your role to see if other companies are hiring for similar jobs with better compensation.

You have taken on additional responsibilities or duties

If you have been working hard and taking on more responsibilities, it’s time to ask for a raise. Make sure to document what you’ve been doing and bring it up when you ask for a raise. You can say something like, “I have been taking on additional responsibilities since my last review and I feel that it is time for a salary increase.”

If this is the case for more than a year, now is a great time to consider asking for more money.

You are consistently meeting or exceeding your goals

In order to get a pay increase, you should be meeting or exceeding your goals. Prove that you are a valuable asset to the company. If you’re making them more money, for instance, there is a good chance business or company managers can justify giving you a pay increase.

It’s been a long time since your last raise

Asking for a salary adjustment is important to do if you feel like you’re being underpaid. This is especially true if you have been with the same company for a while and you’ve either taken on more responsibility or are consistently delivering meaningful value to the company.

A woman preparing noting down her accomplishements during her career in an effort to request an increase in her pay

2. How to prepare to ask for a pay raise?

The best way to get your desired salary is to prepare yourself. It’s smart to lay the foundation from the get go when taking on a new job. Working on your fears, requesting performance reviews, exercising ongoing commitment to training, and noting new duties are all very important.

Manage your fear of a raise request

You might feel nervous when you think about asking for a raise. But it’s important to remember that your employer wants you to be happy and feel valued in your role.  Fear around having difficult conversations is common and hard for everyone, but if you find this emotion particularly challenging, then we recommend seeing a counsellor. A counsellor can help you work through any limitations that are rooted in your past and help you learn healthy communication skills. You can try some techniques to help ease your nerves, like deep breathing, positive visualization, or planning for various outcomes.

Remember, the worst thing that can happen is they say “no”. But most likely, they’ll be open to negotiating if they know you’re unhappy with your current salary.

Ask for feedback and performance reviews

If your company does not provide feedback, ask someone above you to give you feedback on your performance. This will help higher-ups know how you are doing from the time you start your new role until the time you ask for a raise. An annual review is a good opportunity to approach this subject.

When you ask for a performance review, it acts as an instant reminder to your boss of how well you’re doing. It also creates a record of your strong performance that your bosses can keep on file. You can use this record as evidence of your accomplishments, showing that you deserve a raise. This also shows your bosses that you care about your performance and giving your best effort.

Commit to ongoing training

You recently finished a certification? This is important to highlight during your salary negotiation because it shows that you are a valuable employee. Certifications can be anything from a degree to new software you’ve become proficient in.

Note any new responsibilities or duties

Record any new responsibilities or duties you’ve taken on since starting. Create a “Me” file which serves as a portfolio of the work and achievements you’ve accomplished at the company.

Pay attention to your original contract and create a document detailing the extra roles or duties you’ve taken on. Maybe you started solo but now you’re running a team and overseeing others. That type of management role warrants a salary review.

Contribute significantly to your company

If you are in a role where you need to meet certain goals, it will be easier for you to track how well you are doing. Even events such as landing an important client would be considered a significant contribution. This can be especially useful if you are in a sales role and make a lot of sales each month.

If you’ve been at your job for a year or two, you’re probably more productive. If you know that you are important to a current project, it is a good idea to ask for a raise during the project.

A woman conducting salary research to discover how much of a raise would make sense for her role and experience3. How much of a raise should you ask for?

Ask for a specific salary. Asking for a reasonable figure will prevent setting yourself back during negotiations. Doing your research with some key points in mind will help to determine how much of a salary increase to ask for.

Research your market value

There is a lot of salary data available. You can easily view salary benchmarks to find out how much other people with the same job title/location earn. It helps to understand the market rate but remember these are only numbers, and many factors go into salary negotiations.

For example, your job title may have a range of $30k -$70k. The $30k salary is for brand new, inexperienced employees. The middle range will typically pertain to persons with a couple of years’ experience. The top figure is generally reserved for people with 5+ years experience and an impressive skill set.

These figures don’t include whether the employee had any degrees, certifications, or additional skills. Don’t forget to specify that your research was carried out for your city. Your salary figure can vary city-by-city and nationally.

Consider your accomplishments, skill set, and experience

As mentioned earlier, there is a big difference between somebody brand new to the industry versus somebody who has 5+ years of experience. However, someone who has only been in the industry for a couple of years, but has accomplishments and skills to boost their value should be receiving a higher salary than someone new and inexperienced.

A manager having a talk with an employee about their future goals and positive feedback

4. What words to use to ask for a raise?

When it comes to asking for a raise, the right wording is very important. Not only do you want to come prepared with evidence of hard work, but you also want to make your request in a confident way. The language and approach you use can make all the difference.

Always ask in person

You want your boss to feel that you know exactly how much you’re worth. We strongly recommend asking for a pay raise in person. An email or letter can be easily ignored. But if you go into your boss’ office and have a discussion, he or she will have to at least listen to what you have to say.

We also recommend scheduling your meeting in advance, so you show your boss you’re respectful of their time.

Show you’ve done research and came prepared

Instead of saying something vague like, “Google says I’m not getting the average salary for my role”, come prepared with exact figures. Try instead, “According to LinkedIn, the average market value for my job title is between $30,000 and $60,000.” We would even suggest printing this webpage in case the figures come into question.

Now that you established your preparedness, it’s time to provide evidence as to why you deserve this pay raise. Make sure you have evidence of what you’re asking for as well as a summary of your request in case your boss needs to consult with someone above them.

Highlight your value as an employee

Now is the time to bring up any achievements, certifications or degrees, evidence of additional work or related job duties, and evidence of your expanded skill set.

If you work in a target driven job, it’s important to highlight how you’ve exceeded your targets. If you work in a client-based position, then highlighting how many new clients you’ve brought in can be beneficial as well.

Not only show them what you’ve done, but show them what’s to come. What are your plans for growth? What are your goals and how will they benefit the company? How do you plan to achieve those goals?

Be confident

The language you use will make all the difference when asking for a raise. You need to appear confident, and excited about your job and the opportunities the company provides you with.

Having the guts to go up to your boss in person and show how confident you are will not only impress your boss, but also increase your chances of getting that raise. You want to see how your boss reacts as well which is impossible to do over another form of communication.

Time your request thoughtfully

Recent layoffs or a hiring freeze are bad times to seek out a pay raise. Also, you will want to talk to your boss in the middle of the day, so they’re not just coming into the office or getting ready to go home.

Read your boss’ mood and determine if there is anything heavily stressful going on at moment. What if your boss is in a horrible mood when they receive your email asking for a raise?

There are so many benefits to asking in person and if you really want the raise, you’ll be able to make sure that the right conditions are set before you ask for it. Be your own advocate – imagine that you are a sports agent and that the star athlete you are representing is you!

Thank your boss or manager for their time

You should thank your boss or manager for their time because, even if they can’t give you a raise at that particular time, they may be able to refer you to other opportunities within the company. Thanking them for their time also shows that you’re appreciative and respectful.

Human resources manager looks disaprovingly at an employee requesting an adjustment to their salary

5. What NOT to say or do when asking for a pay raise

When asking for a raise, it’s important to be aware of what not to say or do. Here are four things you should avoid if you want to have the best chance of getting what you’re asking for:

Don’t bring up salary history too early

Don’t bring up how much money you’ve made in the past when you’re talking to your boss about getting a raise. It’s important to stay focused on the here and now, and discuss what you can do for your company in the future. That way, your boss will be more likely to agree with giving you a raise.

Don’t compare yourself

Avoid mentioning personal reasons or comparing yourself to co-workers when asking for a raise. You are unique and have different skills than others. You should focus on what you can offer, not what others can’t.

Don’t threaten to leave if you don’t get the raise.

When it comes to asking for a raise, threatening to leave if you don’t get what you want can actually backfire. If your employer thinks that you’re not happy in your position and are only there for the money, they may be less likely to give you a raise at all. Instead, try to focus on the reasons why you deserve a raise and how staying with the company can benefit both you and your employer.

Don’t be emotional in your request.

When you’re asking for a raise, it’s important to remain calm and collected. This is not the time to get emotional or angry. You’ll want to present a well-reasoned case for why you deserve a raise and getting emotional will only undermine your argument.

Here are a few more tips about what not to do when asking for a raise:

  • Avoid “I think” phrases. It’s important to sound confident and know your worth, not be guessing.
  • Don’t approach your boss during a time they seem stressed out, or generally not in a good mood. Scheduling a meeting will go a long way.
  • Don’t show up to the meeting unprepared. Arrive with physical evidence of all your points as well as a formally written request.

A confident employee having a conversation with their boss about their salary and current role

6. How can I stay confident when asking for a raise?

When having a conversation about a raise, it’s important to stay calm and confident. Remember all the steps involved in understanding how to ask for a raise; from documenting your achievements, to salary research. Also, there are steps you can take which will help you to remain calm before and during the event such as:

  1. Mindfulness meditation
  2. Deep breathing
  3. Progressive muscle relaxation
  4. Positive visualization
  5. Talking to a career counsellor

The best way to stay confident when asking for a raise is by being well-prepared. Remember to stay positive and be assertive in your request. Good luck!

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