How to ask for a raise (and actually get one)
Learning how to ask for a raise is hard. Still, while conversation can be scary, asking for a raise is a necessary part of advancing at a company. If you’re in a position where you feel like you’ve earned a pay increase but don’t know how to ask for one, keep reading to determine the best way to ask for a raise.
First, think about why you want a raise, and how much you want
There are good and bad reasons to ask for a raise. Asking for a raise because your rent went up or because your coworker slacks off every afternoon aren’t good reasons. Asking for a raise because you believe you’ve demonstrated value to your team is a good reason. Be prepared to advocate for why you want a raise when you step into your boss’ office by planning your reasons out beforehand.
Next, think about how much you should ask for. This takes a little research. Average raises are around 3-5%, with anything more than that being a very large pay increase. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for a 10% or 20% raise, but it does mean you should have a stellar performance record and a great reason to ask for that kind of pay bump. The important part is to plan — you really don’t want to get caught open-mouthed if your boss approves your raise request and asks how much of an increase you’re asking for.
Next, give up the defeatist mentality
The next step is actually planning to ask for a raise. Problem is, a lot of people spend forever choosing not to ask for a raise because they don’t think they have the credentials to earn one. That, or they think they do have the credentials, but they won’t be able to showcase them effectively enough to prove they’ve earned a pay increase. They’re afraid that when they schedule a meeting with their boss to have the “raise” talk, they’ll be ushered out of the room.
The funny thing is, it’s the thought itself — the thought that you don’t deserve a raise, or that you won’t get one — that’s stopping you from being able to ask for one. Not your lack of credentials. Instead of spending time preparing a list of your previous accomplishments, pulling your best work from your portfolio and scheduling time with your boss, you’re spending time worrying about why you’re going to fail.
Back things up and try it the other way around. Instead of thinking about all the ways asking for a raise could go wrong, think about how it could all go right. Most importantly, think about how happy you’ll be once things do go right.
Once you’ve changed your thinking, start to pivot
Now that you’ve given up your defeatist mentality about earning a raise, think about the exact parameters of what you want. Is it just a raise you want, or are you looking for career advancement, too? Do you want more responsibilities in tandem with your raise, or are you just fine working on the same tasks and goals you did before?
Get specific about your request. Think deliberately about the conversation you need to have to meet your aspirations, and then plan to have it.
Schedule time with your boss, and prepare to wow them
Now that you’re ready to ask for a raise, don’t do it impromptu. Email your boss and ask them if they have time during the week for a one-on-one half hour meeting. If so, put time on your calendars and get ready for the moment.
During your conversation, prepare to “wow” them. The best way you can do this is by showing your boss what’s in it for them, not you. Your boss doesn’t care about your energy bill or your next vacation; they care about how you plan to help the company going forward. Note that this is different than just listing your past accomplishments — you’ll want to share your goals, how those goals directly improve the company’s bottom line, and how a salary increase will help you achieve them.
Manage your expectations and assume the best
Scared of asking for a raise? In keeping with the previous points on this list, expecting the worst is probably going to result in the worst thing happening. If you’re afraid, timid and nervous that asking for a raise is going to lead to you getting laughed out of the office, you’re probably not going to get one.
However, if you go in with the expectation that things are going to turn out well, you’ll be more readily able to advocate for what you want. You’ll feel more confident, excited and inspired by the prospect of getting a raise if you actually think you’re going to get one.
The best part? Even if it doesn’t happen, expecting the best keeps you in a “winning” mindset. Instead of looking at failure as the end of the world, you’ll be more inclined to say, “This didn’t work out for me this time, but I’m excited to re-strategize and choose a new approach.”
Finally, put your request in writing
News flash: unless you’re in upper management, your boss probably has a boss. They might not be able to simply approve your raise request, so you’ll want to put your request in writing. Make sure to list specifics in terms of your past accomplishments, how much you’re asking for, why you’re asking for it, and what your future goals are with the company. Summarizing your raise request for your boss will help them communicate more efficiently with their boss, making the chance that you’ll receive a raise more likely.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve
Learning how to ask for a raise is a life skill. It’s hard, but hard things are worth doing. If you need personalized advice on how to advocate for yourself when you have the “talk” with your boss, get in touch with us now.