How to Ask Your Boss for a Raise

August 23, 2017

You’re ready for a raise. You feel like you’ve been at the company for a while, and you provide solid value to your employer. It’s time for recognition.

But you can’t just march into your boss’s office and demand a raise. In fact, asking for a raise requires preparation and thought. If you feel you are ready for a raise, here are some tips that can help you as you ask your boss for a raise:

Make an Appointment

First of all, you need to make an appointment with your boss to talk about getting a raise. Ask your boss when he or she is available for a talk.

When asking for your appointment, it’s a good idea to start by asking when you know your boss will be in a good mood. On top of that, you don’t want to ask during a time when your boss is busy. Asking for anything, or making an appointment for a Monday morning is usually a bad idea. After all, your boss (and everyone else at work) is getting set up for the week. Fridays are usually not the best, either.

Sometime during the middle of the week, on a Tuesday before things are out of hand, or before your boss has fallen behind, can be a good time. Right after lunch, when your boss isn’t hungry and anxious to go, can be a good time. But use your own observations to see what might make sense.

Tell your boss you want to make an appointment to discuss a raise, and ask when it would be convenient. Once you have your appointment, it’s time to prepare.

Demonstrate Your Value

When you ask your boss for a raise, you need to back up your assertion that you deserve the raise. Just asking for a raise isn’t enough. However, you also don’t want to tell your boss that you want a raise because you need the money. While you might need the money, the reality is that your need doesn’t do anything for the company.

Instead, you need to demonstrate your value. If you have brought in good clients, or if you came up with a process that saves your company money, those are items to point out. Point to your productivity regarding completed projects. If you have been taking on increased responsibility, that’s an important thing to mention as well.

You can also point out your experience level and educational level, especially if you recently completed a degree or certification. Research what others with your experience and education are making in your area. It’s important to be able to show your boss that you are being reasonable in your expectations, as well as that you deserve the raise.

As much as possible, use data and concrete examples of your value to bolster your case. That way, you build a case that you offer value to your company, and that value requires that you receive better pay. When you can show that your value and output are more than what you are being paid, you are more likely to receive your raise.

Be Flexible About the Outcome

In some cases, you might not be approved for a raise. Or, your raise might be smaller than you want. First of all, it’s important to avoid ultimatums to your boss. You don’t want to threaten to quit  — unless you are in a position to carry out your threat. Without another offer lined up, or without savings enough to live on while you look for another job, it’s important to remain flexible.

Maybe there is a way to negotiate benefits rather than just getting a bump in pay. You might be able to get a day or two extra of paid vacation. Maybe you can get more unpaid personal leave. It’s possible to get other benefits, like a more flexible schedule or the ability to telecommute. Think about what items might be valuable to you instead of a raise. In some cases, these benefits can be better than a raise.

No matter how the appointment goes, it’s important to remain calm, professional, and polite. Even if you are frustrated, avoid saying things that can’t be taken back. If you don’t get the raise, you need to be able to continue working effectively, even if it’s only until you can find a job that pays you more.

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