Asking for a Raise

Written by on June 25, 2012 in Career - No comments | Print this page

Asking for a Raise

Sometimes, asking for a raise can feel like this.

Asking for a raise is never easy. I, personally, never got much of one. I assume it was my method of asking for one. Basically, I would walk into my boss’ office, awkwardly ask if they had a minute, and then mumble something about a raise. Now, it could be argued that maybe I didn’t deserve a raise. That’s possible but, I seriously doubt that my blundering helped my cause.

Asking for a raise it’s not something to be done on a whim. You don’t decide “Today, I’m asking for a raise!” It takes carefully planning and researching your position before you ever come to the point of speaking to your superior.

#1. Achievements

Start your endeavor by taking a close look at you and your position. Come up with a list of achievements and situations where you have gone above and beyond your job description. It is especially helpful if you can come up with a time you either saved the company money or generated revenue for the company. Having specific dollar amounts will really help to make your case.

#2. Research

You don’t want to sell yourself short. So, go online and do some research about your position. See what others with your position, experience, and education are making around the nation. This will help you to know the going rate so you don’t lowball yourself or ask for an outrageous amount. A few good websites for this research are, Salary.Com,, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

#3. Timing

Now that you have your background information ready, it’s time to think about the timing of your request. Are people being laid off? Is your boss brand new? If you think that now is not a good time to make your request, then wait for a better time. Your research will probably still be accurate in a month or two. Plus, this gives you more time to add new achievements to your list.

#4. The Pitch

It’s now time to plan how you will sell yourself to your boss. Is your boss laidback or aggressive? Think of your supervisor’s personality and tailor your strategy to it.

Once you have your strategy in place, use your list of achievements to explain why you deserve a raise. Also, use your research to ensure that you are getting a fair offer. One thing to never do is use your personal life to justify a raise. Your boss does not care that your kid needs braces or that your mortgage rate went up. Why should the company finance these things? This conversation should be about how you’re excelling in your career and how you’re an asset to the company.

#5. Plan B

Sometimes, no matter how much you deserve a raise, you can’t get one. The company may be in financial straits. Or, there may be a temporary freeze on these things. Whatever the reason, sometimes, there just isn’t a raise in your near future. When this happens, there may be other forms of compensation available. Maybe you can get more paid vacation time. Or, maybe you can get tuition assistance for a higher degree. Even if you can’t get a monetary raise, there may be other perks available to you.

Asking for a raise can be a nerve wracking situation. But, with a little planning and research, you can help yourself be more confident and capable while asking for a raise.

What do you do before asking for a raise?

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About the Author

Jen Small

Jen is a writer who is originally from South Florida. A former recruiter for a Fortune 500 company, she has also worked in several different industries - real estate, insurance, construction, and education. Jen has now taken this experience to help others as a resume writer and designer. She currently lives and works in South Korea. View all posts with career advice.