Asking for a raise can be nerve wracking and straight-up awkward. There are so many factors to get caught up on: you don’t want to sound greedy or ungrateful, or to deal with the professional fallout of a rejection. However, avoiding the conversation can leave you earning far less than you’re worth. The reality is, there’s nothing wrong with proposing a raise that accurately reflects your hard work.
Get the salary increase you deserve by learning how to ask for a raise with confidence.
How do I approach my boss about a raise?
So, you’ve decided to discuss a raise with your boss... now what?
First off, it’s best to have the conversation in-person. Although it’s perfectly okay to schedule a meeting via email, the actual conversation should take place face-to-face. By speaking to your boss directly, you express that you are serious and can better gauge their reaction to your request.
Another tip regarding how to ask for a raise is to be conscious about timing. If your boss is having a bad day or is stressed about budget cuts, it’s probably not the best time to ask for a raise. However, if you just finished a successful project and notice that they’re pleased with you, what better time to initiate the conversation?
What to say when asking for a pay raise
Although no method guarantees success, there are certain tactics that can help you determine how to ask for a raise.
Your raise proposal should consist of two main aspects:
1. Why you deserve a raise, and
2. Specific achievements to back up your claim
For example, you feel you’ve earned a raise because of your increased level of contribution. To back this up, you could provide a list of the additional responsibilities you’ve taken on over the past few months.
When speaking to your boss, use clear and specific language. A great way to start the conversation is using a straightforward statement such as: “I was hoping we could discuss adjusting my salary to better reflect my recent increase in contribution.”
Another important topic to discuss when asking for a raise is your desired salary increase. Giving your boss an idea of what you are aiming for ensures you’re on the same page. Bringing this up can be as simple as saying: “I was hoping we could raise my salary to $X.”
What is an acceptable raise to ask for?
Speaking of that “X”, it’s important to align the money you’re asking for with your job performance.
When negotiating a raise, it is usually appropriate to propose an increase of 10% to 20%. For example, if you are making $50,000, it would be suitable to ask for a $5,000-$10,000 raise.
But it’s also vital to do your research before setting a definite amount. When figuring out how to ask for a raise, you should familiarize yourself with the salary landscape of both your field and geographic location. Doing research allows you to determine how appropriate your request is by considering external factors.
If you want to learn more about salaries from the employer perspective, check out our post on how much you should pay your employees.
What to do after the conversation
Once you’ve made your request, chances are your boss won’t give you an immediate answer. If you haven’t heard from your boss in a full week, make sure to touch base with them.
It’s a yes.
If your boss chooses to approve your raise request, make sure to give them a solid “thank you!” This can be as easy as writing them a thank you note.
It’s a no.
First, take a deep breath before responding. Although this isn’t the outcome you were hoping for, that doesn’t mean your desired salary is unattainable. You just need a clearer path to success. Take this opportunity to ask, “Can you outline how I could earn this raise in the upcoming year?” Create a detailed plan with your boss to get you there.
After some time passes, you could also consider asking your boss about other work perks like extra vacation days, better benefits or more work-from-home days. These perks are easier for your boss to provide and can give you a different form of appreciation for your hard work.
Overall, as long as you are well-prepared and confident, you’ll put your best foot forward when asking for a raise. At the end of the day, that’s all you can do.