What's the Best Way to Ask for a Raise?

What's the Best Way to Ask for a Raise?

Kim Pinnelli

by Kim Pinnelli
Senior Contributing Writer

June 8, 2020
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What's the Best Way to Ask for a Raise?

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Do you know how to ask for a raise? It’s not as overwhelming as it seems and it’s definitely worth the effort, even if you get a ‘no.’

According to a study conducted by PayScale, 57 percent of people have never asked for a raise. Are you among them? The thought of asking your boss for more money can be intimidating, but it’s also important. You’re leaving money on the table when all you have to do is ask for it.

So how do you ask for a raise? Check out the tips below.

Prepare Yourself

Before you ask for a raise, you must prepare yourself – think of the reasons you deserve it. What have you done for the company? What have you made better? Have you changed anything? Is there anything that may not have happened if you didn’t take care of it?

You should do a little research as well. Find out what the average pay is for your position elsewhere. Look at sites like Glassdoor and PayScale to get your information. Print out as much evidence as you can and/or have your list of accomplishments written down. You’ll be less likely to forget them if you have them on a list in front of you.

Timing Is Important

Don’t talk to your boss about something so important when you know he/she is in a poor mood, stressed out, or there’s something big going on in the company. Choose a time when you know your boss may be happy with you or when things are going right.

Your boss is only human and has human emotions. Your timing is everything. For example, asking for a raise right after you made a mistake probably isn’t the best time. But, asking right after you saved the company money and your boss praised you may be a great time.

Make The Request Face-to-Face

As tempting as it is to get behind a screen and ask for a raise via email or chat message – don’t do it. This is a personal question and you need to portray the genuine feelings that go behind it. It's all too easy to read into an email the wrong way. Your boss may not get the message you’re trying to send when you send an email or you may misunderstand their response.

Wait until you both have the time to sit down alone to have a serious conversation. It's much easier to dismiss or say 'no' to someone through email; in person, you have time to go back and forth. Maybe if your boss can’t give you a raise right now because the company won’t allow it, you can ask for other ‘benefits,’ such as working from home more often, or increasing your paid time off.

Hiring Is Expensive

It may not be obvious to you as the employee, but hiring staff costs money and time, and it can be very disruptive to suddenly have to replace an employee who departed. This is leverage that you have, and you should factor it in when figuring out how much to ask for – enough that it makes a difference to you, but not so much that it will be less expensive for your employer to find a replacement.

You don't want your request for a raise to be perceived as a threat, but you should feel confident in your value to the company when asking for a salary increase.

Knowing how to ask for a raise is important, but don’t be afraid. If you have a good relationship with your boss and you prepare yourself, you’ll be fine. You may not always get the ‘yes’ answer you want, but you’ll get on your boss’s radar and hopefully see some good out of it even if it’s at some point down the road.