graphic of how to ask for a raise

How to Ask for a Raise

You’ve been working for your company for a while and haven’t gotten a raise yet. You think you deserve more money. You have three options:

  1. Do nothing and stay at your current salary for an indefinite amount of time;
  2. Look for a new job that pays more; or
  3. Ask for a raise.

Asking for a raise is awkward and uncomfortable. What makes it even more uncomfortable is the fact that you probably won’t get an answer right away. If your boss has the authority to give you a raise without discussing it with anyone else, they still have to review the company’s finances and your job performance to see if a raise is the right move for the company.

Even though it’s uncomfortable, and you might have to wait for an answer, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of getting that raise.

Find Out What You’re Worth

Find out what other people with your job title are making. A lot of people are reluctant to talk about money, but you can go to websites like Glassdoor to see what the average salary is. Don’t just take that amount at face value, however. Make sure you consider your education and experience. You might find out that you’re earning less than you should be.

Ask After a Big Accomplishment

If you just hit a major milestone or accomplished something big, like landing a huge client, now is the perfect time to ask for a raise. You’ve shown your boss that you’re helping the company achieve its goals and grow financially.

Write an Agenda

Before you schedule a meeting with your boss, write an agenda so you’re prepared.

Write down concrete reasons you deserve a raise, including any additional responsibilities you’ve taken on. After you’ve written everything down, practice your speaking points so you sound confident.

You might also want to consider printing out a copy for your boss so they can review it afterward or give it to whoever will make the final decision.

Don’t Explain Why You Need the Raise

When you’re making your list, make sure you’re explaining why you deserve the raise, not why you need a raise. Your boss won’t give you a raise because you need to pay off your student loans or make your mortgage payments. Your boss will give you a raise because you landed a huge sale.

Schedule the Meeting

When you’re ready to ask for a raise, don’t just show up in your boss’s office. Give them time to prepare, too, by letting them know you’d like to find some time to sit down and talk to them about your performance.

Ask in Person

It’s always best to ask for a raise in person. Even if you normally communicate with your boss through email, IM, or phone, asking them in person will give you a better chance of getting the raise.

If you work remotely, asking in person might not be an option. If that’s the case, ask your boss for the raise through a video conference.

Use Your Common Sense

Use your common sense when scheduling a meeting with your boss. If your boss is stressed or the company is tight on money, now might not be the best time. Wait a little bit for things to level out, then ask.

Dress Up

No matter how casual your office’s dress code is, dress up a little more than normal for your meeting. Your boss will take you more seriously. You don’t have to look like you’re trying too hard, but taking a few extra minutes to iron your blouse or put on a tie will go a long way.

Ask for More Responsibility

Don’t just ask for more money; ask for more responsibility at the same time. Taking on additional responsibilities will increase your chances of getting the raise because it might mean that your company won’t have to hire someone for that role. You’ll also be adding value to the company, so you deserve to make more money, too.

Don’t Give an Ultimatum (Unless You’re Willing to Lose Your Job)

When you’re asking for your raise, you want to be confident, but don’t come off as too demanding. Your boss may say, “no,” so you want to make sure you’ll still be on good terms after the meeting.

If you’re going to give your boss an ultimatum, make sure you’re really willing to leave the job.

Respond to a “No”

If your boss tells you, “no,” make sure you respond calmly.

If your boss turns down your request because of your performance, determine whether their feedback is valid. If their feedback is valid, talk to your boss about what you can do to turn things around and exceed their expectations. If your boss’s feedback wasn’t valid, you might want to consider looking for a new job where you’ll be more appreciated.

If your boss turns you down because the company cannot afford to give you a raise right now, ask your boss about revisiting the conversation at a later date.

Have a Plan B

If your boss tells you, “no” for financial reasons, have a plan B in mind. Is there something you can ask for besides a monetary raise? Consider asking for a more flexible schedule or the option to work from home one day a week.