7 Tips on How to Ask for a Salary Raise: The Dos and Don’ts of Getting What You Want

ask for a salary raise
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You’ve thought it over, your friends agree, you know you deserve it – it’s time to ask for a salary raise. Asking your boss for money is a daunting task for most. There is an infinite number of responses you can receive. You worry that your boss will disagree, even laugh at the thought.

Most of the time, a simple yes or no, followed by a logical answer is what you will receive when you ask for a salary raise.

Before you jump into your boss’s office, ask yourself why you think you deserve a raise and be prepared to argue your point. Practice your spiel on a spouse or friend, hold your head up high, and get what you deserve.

Here are some steps on how to ask for a raise, so you can walk in confident, knowing full and well that you deserve it.

1. Determine why you want to ask for a salary raise

Did you recently take on more responsibility? Accomplish a goal or solve a problem for the company? Take a good look at why you believe you deserve a raise before setting a meeting with your boss.

If you need the extra money because you bought a new car, heard that so-and-so is making more than you, or just don’t have a solid reason, to begin with, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

The first question your boss is going to ask is “why?”

Have a list of recent accomplishments in your mind, so when the time comes, you ready to fight back with physical evidence as to why you should make more money.

Simply doing your job by meeting the bare requirements is not a valid reason. Show that you have gone above and beyond in your position, and would like your salary to reflect that.

2. Research others in your field

This is a must do research before you ask for a salary raise. While each company is different, most positions have an average salary range that you can use to base your raise off of. Do some research and see if you can gather what others in your field with similar experience are making.

Keep in mind that a mom and pop operation will likely never meet the salary level of a corporation. There are pros and cons to every business, and if money is your primary concern, you have to evaluate if the business can afford to give you a raise, regardless if you deserve a salary raise or not.

If budget isn’t a concern, make sure you don’t ask for a salary raise that’s three or four times what the industry average is. While it can’t hurt to try, you’ll likely be turned down if you ask for a raise over the national norm.

3. Practice your pitch

Once you’re confident in your reasoning and amount, practice your pitch on a family member or friend. A trusted friend is likely to help think of questions or concerns you may not have initially seen and can help get some of the jitters out before you ask for a raise.

You can practice the flow of your pitch, and add or remove anything that doesn’t serve you. Have a friend go through different scenarios, preferably the more difficult ones.

Prepare your response to every possible answer, including no. If you’re in a rush or don’t have a friend you feel comfortable asking for help, practice in a mirror. By saying your pitch out loud will help you prepare for the actual meeting.

ask for a salary raise
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4. Time your meeting accordingly

Plan your meeting for a time that makes sense.

Did the company just lose a big client? Is the boss in a bad or good mood?

Take advantage of the factors that are within your control. Make sure to set an in-person meeting with your boss, not a phone call or email request. If the timing is off for the company, you may have to wait a few weeks before asking.

This can at least give you time to really wow your boss before the actual meeting. 

A book I can recommend is “The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise“. When the time comes, dress professionally and be prepared, from the start of the day.

Don’t let other distractions like lunch, other meetings, or personal life affect your pitch.

5. Plan for what’s ahead

An easy way to impress your boss is to discuss your future plans with the company. Let your boss know that you are interested in growing with the company for years to come. If you have a unique project or solution to a company problem, mention it.

Show your boss that a salary raise isn’t the end goal for you; it’s a step towards something bigger. More importantly, follow through with the promise. Don’t agree to tasks you can’t complete, but don’t make your boss think that you’ll be coasting by after you receive the raise.

6. Walk in with confidence

Confidence is key to getting what you want. If you’re unsure of yourself and what you deserve, so is your boss. Know that you’ve worked hard to earn the raise, and let your body language show it.

Walk with your head held high, sit up straight, and make eye contact.

Come prepared with examples of previous projects and accomplishments, printed out in a folder if need be. Your boss is much more likely to respect your wish if you have respect for yourself and walk in confident in your abilities. Oh, and make sure you actually ask for a raise, not just argue why you’re good at your job.

7. Have a plan for each outcome

If your boss agrees, that’s great. Don’t go around the office parading your success. Keep it to yourself; you don’t want to cause any trouble before the raise is finalized. If your boss says no and there is no more arguing left to do, you need to have a plan for what’s next.

If you absolutely need the money, you may need to consider switching jobs. If you can get by without it, you’ll have to continue working with poise and professionalism, regardless of your disappointment.

A no doesn’t mean no forever, learn from the defeat, take notes for the next time you ask, and move on.

BA in Accountancy, he entered the entrepreneurial world by starting his first online marketing business in 2004. Passionate about personal finance, the stock market and a digital marketing addict. I also love to read books on entrepreneurship and technology and always on the lookout for new opportunities. I'm an avid golfer and currently a 15 handicapper.

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