How to Ask for a Raise and Get it: 7 Steps

There are two ways to save more money — spend less or make more (or both!). While some people worship the god of frugality, I’m a much bigger fan of making more. Why? I like nice things, awesome vacations, and fabulous food and wine. Cutting coupons is not as effective as bringing home more bacon to get these things, in my humble opinion.

There are many ways to make more money, but let’s discuss the easiest — get a raise at your current job! Doing the same amount of work for more money sounds good, doesn’t it? Here’s how you ask for a raise and actually get it!

1) Be really good at your job (or at least better than your peers!). Length of service is an unconvincing argument as to why you deserve more money. Because believe it or not, you don’t actually deserve a raise for spending half the day on Pinterest. If you simply work while you are at work, you are beating about 90% of your peers.

Do your job and work to improve yourself before you consider asking for a raise. The truth hurts but you have no reason to ask for a raise if you not being underpaid and do mediocre work.

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2) Gather evidence of your work ethic. Did you save the company X amount of money? Did you go above and beyond on a recent project? Have you successfully absorbed new duties in your current position? Great!

Be sure to have these accomplishments available to present to your boss when asking for a raise. Often times, bosses are dealing with other things and they don’t notice your exceptional contributions. Encouraging, right? That’s totally fine, just make sure you are able to show them what you did.

3) Have a number in mind reflective of your outstanding performance and the industry. Companies don’t necessarily want to pay you more. While you may be a valuable team member, your boss may offer you a smaller amount than you deserve. Be prepared with the number you want and make sure to bring it up!

Some companies truly cannot give you the raise you want and deserve (like government positions or positions that pay based on years of service only) but many companies have room in the budget for exceptional employees. Ask for what you know you deserve.

It wouldn’t hurt to have a lower number as well. If you have the lowest possible salary you are willing to accept in mind and your job is unable or unwilling to give it to you, it’s probably time to move on to another position.

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4) Find out when salary negotiations are done. In some instances, you may be able to schedule a meeting with your boss whenever to discuss a pay increase, but some companies only make salary decisions during review time. Find out about this and talk to your boss a few months prior to any reviews, letting them know that you will want to discuss your salary. Otherwise, they may just give you a cost of living raise and move on.

5) Set up a meeting. Once you determine when the best time to meet is, request a meeting with your boss. Make sure he or she knows that you want to discuss your compensation. Also, schedule enough time to go over your performance and possible negotiations. You don’t want your boss starting at his or her watch because the meeting is taking longer than anticipated.

6) Present the aforementioned evidence of your exceptional work and your salary expectations. Lay out all the proof you gathered that you have a strong work ethic and are a great asset to the company. Show that not only have you gone above and beyond your primary duties, but that you are also great to work with. Most companies recognize that while skills can be taught, attitude cannot. They want people who are both excelling at their work AND pleasant to be around.

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Tell your boss how much you want and why you deserve it. Provide information about how much others are making in your position in the same industry and how your work qualifies you to make more than you are currently making (and possibly more than the industry average!).

Three things can happen here:

1) Boss says yes to full amount!

2) Boss negotiates for a lower amount!

3) Boss whines about how there isn’t enough in the budget or says you don’t deserve a raise!

If #1 occurs, we’re done. If #2, play ball! Try to agree on a number that is reflective of your work efforts and is acceptable to your boss. Don’t go below that bottom number we discussed earlier!

If the answer is #3, that really sucks. Provided there isn’t enough in the budget, you can suggest alternatives like increases in benefits (which are often worth more than salary). Ask for more vacation, flexible hours, or telecommuting abilities. If you don’t want any of these things, it may be time to move on.

If your boss tells you that you don’t deserve a raise, do a bit of soul searching. You were supposed to do this earlier, but try again. Do you really deserve a raise? Really? If yes, than it is time to move on. If no, you need to go back to step one and make yourself raise-worthy.

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7) Move on if necessary. Sometimes you just aren’t going to get the raise, even though you truly deserve it. If this is the case, it’s time to start looking for a new job. You don’t want to be undercompensated, particularly if there is no room for advancement and you don’t foresee raises in your future. Update your resume and go somewhere that is willing to pay you what you are worth.

While negotiating can be intimidating, it is necessary to raise your tax bracket income. Grow a pair and ask your boss for what you are worth and be prepared to leave if you can’t get it. Good luck!

Have you ever asked for a raise? Did you get it?