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How to Ask for a Raise

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Yes, this seems like the worst possible time to ask for a raise — and of course, it’s also the time when you need a raise the most.

If it’s been some multiple of six months since you started at your company, or if you have done some very valuable work recently, then you are fully entitled to ask for more money. The worse your boss can do is say “no.” (I’ve worked for at least one company that had a habit of firing anyone who asked for a raise. You don’t want to work for that kind of employer anyway.)

Some workers don’t ever ask for raises, under the assumption the company won’t give them one. But increases in compensation are your right. Some bosses are perfectly happy to give raises, but won’t do it until they are asked.

Take the risk. You might get more money.

Some tips:

Put together your case for a raise. You’re not simply asking for more money, you’re selling yourself as an employee who deserves more compensation. Make a written list of your accomplishments. Have some ideas for improving your work in the future. But never compare yourself favorably to other employees — I do way more work than Barry, and he’s always late. Sell the positives about yourself, but don’t drag in the negatives of others.

Be confident. If you’re unsure you deserve a raise, then why should your boss believe it any more than you do?

Talk to your boss in private. Never discuss compensation in front of others; and never talk about your pay to anyone but your superior or human resources. I once had my boss’ boss tell me I made more money than my immediate superior — this was meant to convince me I didn’t need a raise. Instead, I was (1) appalled that my boss made less than I did and (2) appalled that this guy would tell me about it.

Don’t demand a specific dollar figure. And certainly don’t make ultimata — I’ll quit of you don’t pay me $65,000. If your boss wants to give you a raise, let him or her come up with an amount. If it’s not enough, then you can try negotiating. But never threaten, even if you do plan to quit if the money’s not enough.

If you get a raise, show your appreciation. Hardly anyone celebrates a raise by giving their boss flowers, or a card, or an edible fruit bouquet. Bosses like to feel appreciated, especially if he or she had to go to bat with upper management to approve your raise. Show that you’re thankful. (Your boss may not want other employees to know you got a raise. If so, then keep your gesture of appreciation low key.)

Got any advice for employees seeking more money? Let us know in the comments!

How to Ask for a Raise by
Authored by: Erik Even