Ever wondered how you could land your dream job? What about a higher salary, so you can treat yourself to that vacation you have always dreamed of? If so, look no further. Because our in-depth guide breaks down the perfect way to ask for a raise.
Asking your boss for a raise is never easy.
It can be uncomfortable. Many of us are simply too passive and compromising to be that assertive when we interact with our superiors.
This is the shame because asking for a raise does not have to be such a challenge. In fact, many shy and naturally unassertive people do it every day. Often, they can walk away successful. Best of all, everybody, we talk to who has successfully asked for a raise ends up walking away with a massive confidence boost.
Are you not earning the kind of wage or salary you think you deserve?
Do you spend countless hours at the office and go above and beyond your job expectations but not see those efforts go recognized by your employer? Are you working hard, but struggling to make ends meet? If this sounds like you, it is time to act and stand up for yourself.
There is nothing selfish about it. In fact, most employees around the world ask and negotiate raises multiple times throughout their careers. But, not everyone does it right. As a result, not everyone is successful. Our job is to make sure nobody repeats those mistakes.
Want to get started? If you want to find out how to ask for a raise, read on and learn everything there is to know about it from our hands-on walkthrough. Our tried-and-true How to Ask for a Raise 101 Guide has worked for us. It works to countless other ambitious and high-achieving employees over the years. Try it. You have nothing to lose, and a whole lot to gain.
Nothing to be Ashamed Of
In today’s economy, it is an unfortunate reality that many of us are forced to stand up for ourselves and ask for a raise. To save their bottom lines, many employers slash labor costs as much as possible. In many cases, that means we can go years without pay raises. That is unless we demand them.
That is where we have come to help. Since asking for a raise is a natural and, in fact, a necessary part of life for working people today, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Almost always, employers understand that asking for a raise is a necessity for many of us.
Simply put, there is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about when it comes to negotiating what you are worth. Nearly every financially successful person we have spoken to has asked for a raise at some point in their career. It is a matter of equity and responsibility, not selfishness. And any respectful employer recognizes this.
Common Errors and Misconceptions
When people approach us to ask how to ask for a raise, we usually realize right away that their assumptions about how to do it are fundamentally wrong. There are also some obvious errors that are made every day. Here is a quick list of some of the most common mistakes.
- Never ask during peak season, as your boss already has enough on his or her plate.
- Never complain, whine, or compare yourself to coworkers.
- If the company is downsizing or making budget cuts, hold off until after the latest annual budget is released.
- Don’t “keep it casual”. Make sure you prepare, do your research, and carve out time to have a serious discussion with your boss.
- Don’t assume that your pay is the only negotiable item (Hint: benefits, vacation time, and working from home are also great bargaining chips).
The Step-by-Step on How to Ask for a Raise
Now that you know what not to do when it comes to asking for a raise, let’s get down to business. Follow this no-nonsense guide to find out how to ask for a raise the right way.
Step 1: Take a Look in the Mirror
No, not an actual mirror. Rather, ask yourself honestly what you think you deserve. Are you fully competent at your job? Do you exceed each of your job’s expectations and contractual obligations? Or, do you fall short at some aspects of your job?
Before asking for a raise, you need to know what you are worth.
Be honest about what skills you do. Do not have is a necessary starting point before heading into a negotiation. And that, often, is exactly what asking for a pay raise entails: a give-and-take negotiation. Between a worthy employee and a grateful employer.
Step 2: Take a Look at the Calendar
Basically, you always want to time your negotiation strategically. When you ask for a raise during peak season, or when your employer needs you to be performing at your best, it is a bad idea to ask for a raise. This is because it amounts to blackmail. If your company cannot afford to lose you, but you request a raise anyway, it puts your employer is a very uncomfortable situation.
Instead, plan to ask for a raise immediately after your peak period. Ideally, once things have cooled off a bit at the office and your employer has your awesome performance fresh in their memory. This is the best way to strike “while the iron is hot”, so to speak.
Step 3: Ask for a Performance Evaluation
Asking for a raise is about more than just demanding more pay. It is about looking at your contribution to the company and making sure your compensation matches it. Therefore, you should frame the discussion as a performance review, or a performance evaluation, from the outset.
When you are ready to have the discussion, speak with your supervisor directly about how you would like to schedule a performance review. There is no need to beat around the bush. Simply be genuine and upfront about it. If they have a secretary or assistant, it may be a good idea to ask them first before speaking with your boss.
Step 4: Prepare Your Talking Points
Anybody who knows how to ask for a raise knows that preparation is everything. The night before your scheduled discussion, write out a list of your best virtues in the office. What is it that sets you apart from the rest of your team? How have you developed and exceeded your capabilities since you were first brought on?
In any event, you should have a clear list of 4 or 5 talking points. These should essentially “sell yourself” to your boss. You want to make it clear that you are a worthy employee whose demands need to be taken seriously.
Lastly, you want to write out your opening offer. This can be in the form of a pay increase, but could also involve an increase in vacation time, health benefits, or stock options. Don’t be afraid to get a bit creative here. Then, you will also want to write out what your minimum acceptable counter-offer is. This should be a secondary offer that would also leave you satisfied if your first is rejected.
Step 5: Collect Your Data
This means understanding the market value of your labor. Find out how much other workers are being paid by competitors. Make sure you only compare yourself to those who work in the same metropolitan area as you. Have the same job title, and have a comparable amount of experience. Public salary indexes such as PayScale can be great for this.
Second, try to compile any emails you have been given that contain praise for your work. If you regularly receive great feedback for your work, there is no harm in printing them off and showcasing it during the negotiation.
Step 6: Take the High Road
When it comes time to get down to it, it is important to get in the right headspace. Make sure that you take a few minutes to take deep breaths and calm down a bit. There is no reason to get worked up or put on a “game face” for the occasion. We find that practicing your smile in the mirror can be a great way to loosen up and get into a friendly and cooperative state of mind before you get started.
Before walking into your boss’s office, take a deep breath, hold your head up high, and smile.
Everybody gets a little nervous at times like these, so it is okay if feel a bit “off” going into it. For most of us, this is an inevitable reaction. This is normal, and it will not put you at a disadvantage.
Now that all of your prep work is done, it is time to just go through the motions. Get straight to the point. Politely inform your employer of the various aspects of your performance. That you believe deserve extra recognition. Then, clearly state your offer, or “asking price”. Do not be offended if the counteroffer is not what you expect. When it comes to asking for a raise, cooler heads always prevail.
At the end of the negotiation, genuinely thank them for taking the time to hear you out. It is never easy for employers to put in situations like this, so it helps if you acknowledge this.
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