3 Tips to Asking Your Boss for a Raise

Ryan Morris
by Ryan Morris
Guides - 3 years ago

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How do you ask for a raise?

If you’re anything like most of us, you don’t. Or at least, you don’t for a very long time.

It’s tough to have a frank discussion with an employer about how much you’re worth to them, and tougher still if you’re the kind of person who’s allergic to confrontation.

But frank conversations like these are necessary to make sure you aren’t being taken advantage of in the workplace — if you believe you deserve a raise, you should be able to ask for it.

But how do you ask the question? When do you ask it? And what sort of information should you put together ahead of time to make sure that the conversation goes smoothly?

Your old pals here at Zippia have fortunately put together a guide to help you figure out just that.


1. When Is It Time to Start Asking for a Raise?

Unless you’re particularly money-obsessed, if you’re asking this question at all, it may already be time.

But deserving a raise and being capable of getting one are two different matters.

There are plenty of reasons you might deserve a raise — but to actually get one, you need proper timing and to get all of your resources in order first to make sure you state your case as well as you can.

Here are some hints it might be time for you to start asking your boss for a raise:

  • If your industry knowledge has increased significantly during your time at the company, or if you’ve become a more marketable job candidate for other reasons.
  • If you’ve taken on additional responsibilities at work or have recently been put in charge of other employees in any way.
  • If you’re well known around your work for being someone that consistently delivers or otherwise gets things done.

2. What to Do Before You Ask for a Raise

Even if you’re ready for and deserve a raise, you can’t go into a meeting with your boss swinging blindly.

You have to take some time to prepare for your meeting before you move forward.

Think of a raise as being like a second job interview.

You’re trying to prove to someone that you deserve to be paid money for doing work for them — but in this case, you’re just trying to prove to them that you deserve MORE money than you’re already receiving.

So just like a job interview, you need to put together your numbers and qualifications so that when your boss asks you to justify your pay raise, you have the ability to do so.

Here are some things you should have on hand before you move forward with asking your boss for a pay raise:

  • Do research and find out what others in your same position are making right now, as well as how much salary you, in particular, could be earning based on your experience and education. This is one of the surest ways to get paid more money, assuming that the company has it to spare — if they know you can be making more money elsewhere, they’re often willing to pony up the dough.
  • Prepare your arguments, and think about what you’ll say if you get told “no.” You want to have a plan in place as much as possible for how you’re going to act, but avoid giving yourself a script if you can. It’s hard to improvise if you prepare your entire argument down to the letter. Just prepare yourself to argue about how much you’re worth.
  • Wait for the right time. If you start asking for a raise when the company is losing money and firing employees left and right, your boss is going to think that your grasp on the industry you work in is tenuous at best. And it might be enough to get your own job on the chopping block.

3. How to Ask For a Raise

Now comes the moment of truth — asking for the raise itself.

There are a lot of things to keep in mind with this section — after all, there are a lot of possible ways things can go wrong.

And when things go wrong in a raise negotiation, the results can occasionally be devastating.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while asking your boss for a raise:

  • Remain calm throughout the exchange. If you get emotional, it will show, and it could easily be held against you. One way or another, you want to be sure your boss doesn’t think you’re going to take their decision personally.
  • Remember that raises aren’t about rewarding you for your work — practically speaking, they’re to keep you on retainer. If you’re making good money where you are, you won’t go looking elsewhere. So as you’re presenting your case, frame it in such a way that makes it obvious to your boss why they wouldn’t want to lose you to someone with deeper pockets.
  • Don’t give an ultimatum, unless you truly are prepared to lose your position. If you do this, your old pal capitalism will teach you very quickly how much your boss truly values your contributions to the company.

Wrapping Up:

That’s all for this one! Just keep in mind:

Above all, any time you walk into ask for a raise, you want to be prepared for the possibility that you could lose your job.

It’s unlikely if both you and the company are doing well, but there’s always the chance that you’ve misjudged either the situation or your boss themselves.

If they take issue with your tone or get defensive, it’s not hard for a disagreement of opinion to turn into a full-on bloodbath.

That’s why being prepared for a “no” answer is so important. You want to keep things civil, even if hearing a no means that you’re definitely about to start looking for work elsewhere.

You never know which connection is going to make or break you down the line. It’s probably safe to keep as many of them intact as you can manage — even the jerks that refuse to pay you more.

Best of luck! Here are some other links to help you on your way:
3 Tips to Making a Lateral Career Move
3 Tips for Tooting Your Own Horn Without Being Annoying
3 Tips to Stop Selling Yourself Short at Work

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