Complete Guide | How to Ask for a Raise
Everybody wants more money for their work, but most people don’t want to ask for it. Asking for a raise can be nerve-wracking, and is sure to set you up for an uncomfortable conversation with your superior. Still, the point comes when you need to ask for more money. No one is going to give you anything unless you ask for it. It might not be the easiest thing in the world, but if you believe you deserve more money, you’ll need to learn how to ask for a raise and speak up.
How do you approach the topic with your employer, though? That’s what we’ve set out to answer. Below, we’ll walk you through the preparation and the conversation you’ll need to have with your boss to earn more money for your work.
You’ll have to do a bit of research before asking for your raise. It’s best to come to the table prepared, so you know all of the information your boss will cite. The first piece of information you need is how much money for which you can realistically ask. Do some industry research, and see what other people are getting paid for your same position.
If you’re already in the top percentage of earners at your position, you might not have too much room with which to work. If you’re at the bottom, you’ll have a hard figure that you can use for negotiation. You’ll want to know where you stand within the industry before asking for more money. This way, if your boss cites an incorrect statistic about how much the industry pays, you’ll be able to call them on it.
To get the best out of the negotiation process, you have to be honest with yourself. If you’ve been working at your job for three months, and are someone whom the employer took a chance on, you’re probably not in a position to be asking for more money. Look at your resume the way a potential employer would. How long have you been working in this position? How much experience do you have in the industry? Do you have a degree in the field?
You’ll need to answer all of these questions and more before you start asking for more money. Is your expertise invaluable to the company or could they hire someone off the street to do your job? Be honest here, because you know your boss will be.
Research Your Employer
Now that you know the general amount those in your industry earn and have taken a harsh look in the mirror, it’s time to take a look at your particular company. Take a look at their financial situation to get a better idea of how realistic your wage-bump is. If your at a company that recently laid-off a bunch of employees, now might not be the best time to start asking for more money. Sure, fewer people might mean more responsibility, but your boss may have his hands tied by those above him.
Each company is different, and many have structured raises to prevent the very conversation you’re thinking of having. Make sure that there’s no companywide pay raise policy by checking with HR. They’ll be able to tell you if there are pay caps for certain positions, or if any other corporate red tape will be in your way. If there is something in your way, then inquire about taking on more responsibility or receiving a full-blown promotion to get the wages to where you need them.
Create Your Pitch
Now that you’ve completed your research, it’s time to craft a pitch. You don’t want your pitch to be a script that you read off of, but rather a set of points you’ll want to hit on while talking about receiving more money for your time. If you have an honest evaluation of yourself, the market’s value of your work, and the company’s position, you should have everything you need to start your pitch.
The tone should be conversational, as all good sales pitches are (and after all, you are selling yourself). Touch on how long you’ve worked at your position or company, the role you fill, the market research you’ve done on other companies, and your knowledge of the company’s financial standing. That way, you’ll immediately counter any argument your boss may use as a scapegoat.
Most importantly, remind your superior of your knowledge, experience, or prior accomplishments that make you a unique employee. If you helped generate more sales with a creative idea, bring it up. Compile a list of the job-specific or company-specific information you know like the back of your hand that will take your boss weeks or months to teach a new person. If you’re confident enough in your position, hint at the fact that you might take another job if your boss doesn't meet your requirements.
When to Ask
Timing is almost as important as the content of your pitch. If your boss is having a bad day, maybe wait a few days to broach the subject. If you can, make the pitch soon after you’ve made an accomplishment. This may be a big sale, a milestone, being ahead of schedule. You’ll know when your boss is impressed, and use this time to ask for more money. If this time isn’t available, try to approach them in the middle of the week when work is slow, and your boss is in a good mood.
Start the conversation by asking your boss if he or she is busy. That way they won’t be able to wave you away when the tough topic arises. Begin your pitch by stating your case. You’ve been working for the company for so many years, you’ve brought up sales by so much – any information that you’ll include in your pitch.
Above everything, give your boss the reasons why he should make you feel as though your time and work is valued. The more integral you are to a company, the better the chance that they relent and pay you what you’re worth.
If You Get a “No”
Even the best pitches will get turned down now and then. If you brought all of your information to the table and your boss still didn’t go for it, at least you gave it your all. Still, though, you didn’t get your raise, and it’s time to reevaluate.
If you had your heart set on the raise, you might want to shop for another job. You don’t have to take it, but returning with an offer in-hand will make your boss more likely to give you the pay raise. If you do end up searching for a new job, make sure you know how to best prepare for an interview and if it goes well, ensure that you know how to negotiate salary. This strategy will let your boss know that another company values you at a higher rate. If this isn’t in the cards, then put your head down and go for it again in a few months.
The Do’s and Don’ts
- Be respectful towards your boss
- Highlight your best qualities
- Reference your research of the company and industry
- Allow your work to speak for itself
- Cover why replacing you will cost more than the raise you’re asking for
- Insult or demean your boss
- Act like you’re too good for the work you’re doing
- Try to guilt your boss with a sob story
Get Your Raise
The only way you’re going to get more money is to ask, and the worst your boss is going to do is say no. You won’t be losing anything by asking. With this guide, you’ll have all the tools you need to be earning more money for your time and effort.