How to Ask For a Raise — Step by Step Advice



How to Ask for a Raise

So you think you’ve earned a raise but no one has coughed up the extra cash. Unfortunately it’s not longer the norm to receive standard annual performance reviews with good ol’ fashioned “standard of living” increases. Seems most often we have to ask. But before you go in, you need to ready with some solid reasons…With my years as a recruiter and manager, I’m going to give you some tips to prepare and lastly I’m going to walk you through “The Conversation.”

1) This may seem obvious but make sure you are in good standing with your boss and the company. Obviously if you’ve been put on probation, this is not the time. But even more so, are you competing against or working with the management’s goals. No one wants to go out of their way to help someone grow professionally if they are a negative force for the team. If you are not in the boss’ favor, you’ll need to do some soul searching….maybe you need to find a different job.

2) Leave all personal reasons out of it. Whether your personal expenses have increased or not, that’s technically not your bosses problem. So just because your car broke down and you need to pay for Chuckie’s braces, is not reason enough for a salary increase. This is a business based on dollars. You need to justify a salary increase by showing how you’ve brought in more revenue or reduced costs.

3) When was your last salary increase? If it’s been 5 years, you’ve already got a good argument right there. If it’s been less than 1 year since your last increase, you better have a really good reason such as major changed in job duties, which leads to #4…

4) What job duties have you taken on or would like to take on? Let’s say, since your last increase, you’ve since taken over a new responsibility. This happens all the time and sometimes unbenknownst to management. It might be the case that a coworker left your company and you picked up some slack all the while your boss was none the wiser. If you DON’T have examples of increased responsibilities, start looking around for areas where you can do more.

5) List your strengths and think about your weaknesses…have you been an unreliable mess because you’ve been going through something personally? Not the time for a raise. Assuming you’ve been a hard worker, reliable, flexible, team player, you can always emphasize that to your boss. But these are mostly things I want you to be thinking about. You’re not going to walk in with a list of qualities that any decent worker should have to demand a raise.

6) Do some research. Try to find similar positions and those salary ranges. offers some good insight BUT proceed with caution. Every company is different. Small companies tend to pay less, your geographic location is going to play a huge role. Find several examples on which to base any conclusions because you need several to get an average.

Finally, how to broach the conversation. You definitely need to walk a fine line because you don’t want your employer to think you are going to quit or that you are job hunting. Not to discourage you, but an employer can absolutely let you go for actively seeking a new position. I created another video, Should You Accept or Negotiate your new job offer. The conversation will be very similar to the one I describe in that video.

1) Request the bosses time, face to face to discuss your performace. Schedule a meeting if your boss is constantly on the run.

2) Once your in the meeting, express enthusiasm for the company and job. Let them know you are in it for the long haul.

3) Let them know that you have professional and financial goals, for example I’d really like to get into a management role and I’d like to be earning “X” in the next 3 years. Keep it realistic.

4) If it’s been a long time (more than 2 years) you can rest much of your argument on this. “It’s been 2+ years since my last increase. I believe I’ve been very reliable yada yada…I was hoping that you’d consider a salary increase for me. Based on the research I’ve done, I’ve found that my positions pays between X and Y. I’d really think somewhere in between X and Y is fair.

5) The biggest bang for your buck is if you can show them that you’ve taken on increased responsibilities as we discussed earlier. This is the time to bring that up. But DO NOT compare your work load to coworkers. Saying, “I do twice as much as Betty and I know she makes as much as me.” is about as unprofessional as it gets.

Now, if your employer says no, try to find out why. If you have performance issues, try to get the specifics (as painful as it is to hear) so you can work on them. But maybe the company is having financial difficulties of their own. Regardless, I’d ask them if you can possibly revisit the conversation in 3 to 6 months. If for whatever reason, they seem utterly closed minded to it, start looking for a new job. Chances are, they won’t be and your boss will appreciate your honesty.

One final tip, always have your resume updated and prepared for job interviews. If in the unlikely chance this conversation goes sideways, you want to feel armed with options. There’s nothing worse than feeling trapped.

Hope you find my tips helpful. Thank you for visiting

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