Tips on How to Ask for a Raise
The cost of living constantly increases, and if your present salary can’t keep up with inflation, you might struggle to pay your bills and make a living. Maybe your raises are few and far between. If you’re not satisfied with your current pay you might look for other opportunities. But don’t give up on your employer so fast. If you need extra money to keep up with life’s demands, ask for a pay raise.
There is nothing easy or comfortable about approaching your boss for a raise. And some people avoid this entire conversation out of fear. But fear should not hold you back from getting the money you deserve. A salary increase can make a huge difference in your life, plus it contributes to job satisfaction.
Are you looking for an effective way to ask for a raise? Here are 10 techniques to help you get a salary increase.
1. Do your homework.
Multiple factors determine salary, such as experience, education and your location. Research the pay scale for your position. Next, check out local job ads. This provides clues as to what other companies are willing to pay for similar positions. Have a figure in mind when approaching your employer. Be realistic and take into consider your level of experience. If you’re relatively new in this particular field, don’t expect a raise that puts your income at the top of the salary range. Additionally, consider the size of your company. Smaller companies typically pay less than larger companies.
2. Know the policy.
Check your employee handbook (if applicable) and learn the procedure for raises, as well as the decision maker. Some companies only consider raises after a performance review or a specific length of employment.
3. Break it down.
Let’s say you want a $6,000 a year salary increase. Your employer might cringe if you start dropping huge numbers. Take a different, softer approach and break down your request. Rather than asking for a $6,000 salary increase, ask your boss for an extra $115 a week. The smaller number doesn’t seem as huge, and it’s easier for some employers to digest smaller figures.
4. Pick the right time.
Timing is everything when asking for a raise. Ideally, you want to catch your boss when he’s in a good mood, relaxed and unhurried. His response may also be favorable when the company is performing well. Be observant to the atmosphere around the office. For example, if your boss frequently complains about lagging sales or if the company had a bad quarter, this is probably not the best time to ask for a raise.
5. Be prepared.
Be ready to defend your request. Even if your boss believes that you’re a good worker and worthy of a salary increase, he might ask you to explain yourself. Make a brief list of all your recent accomplishments and achievements with the company. Include within this list anything that goes above and beyond your job description. Did you implement new programs? Have you been working longer hours? Have you taken on new responsibilities? Did you recently complete a degree program? The more things you have on your list, the better. Approach this meeting like a job interview and be ready to sell yourself.
Have a practice session before approaching your boss. This helps gather your thoughts and eases nervousness. Go a step further and role play with a friend. This person can ask a variety of questions and you can practice your responses. Practicing helps perfect your case, and if you display confidence in the meeting, your boss might decide in your favor.
7. Be Professional.
Regrettably, your boss may not respond favorably. Maintain your temperament and be professional. This isn’t the time to throw a tantrum, whine or threaten to quit. Respectfully ask your boss to explain the reason for the rejection. Maybe the company cannot afford any salary increases, or maybe your boss feels that your performance doesn’t justify a raise at this time. Understand, however, this decision can change in the future. Take this opportunity to grow as an employee. Ask your boss, “What will it take to get a raise?” Listen to his advice and improve in the necessary areas.
8. Negotiate other compensation.
If your boss can’t offer a raise at this time, he may be willing to negotiate other perks. Some employers will go the extra mile for a solid worker. For example, your employer might give you additional time off or extra benefits. Likewise, he might allow telecommuting or a flexible work schedule.
9. Stand out in the organization.
A good reputation within the company puts you a step closer to a pay increase. Positive qualities should come to mind whenever your boss or coworkers hear your name. These qualities might include dependable, trustworthy, professional and a team player. If you’re seen as the office clown or someone who doesn’t respect deadlines, this can work to your disadvantage. Employers take these factors into consider, and if the overall opinion of you is negative, your boss may pass on your request.
Additionally, your boss may decline your request if you never take the initiative. Do a self-examination and assess your personal work history. Do you participate in company meetings? Do you accept new assignments and projects? Are you a leader? Seniority, experience and education aren’t the only deciding factors. Employers also factor in commitment and effort.
10. Use leverage.
If you’ve already received a job offer, and your new job pays significantly more, use this as a bargaining chip. Inform your boss that you received a new job offer, but that you’ll like to stay with the company. Next, ask him to match your new salary. Only play this card if you really have another job offer and you are willing to leave the company. If you are a good worker and your company can afford to pay a higher salary, your boss may match your salary to retain you as an employee.