If you are wondering what to say when asking for a raise, you have come to the right place. In this guide, we will teach you exactly how to ask for a raise and get it.
1. Do some groundwork
Before you can think about asking for a raise, you must do your homework. You must, for example, find out what a typical employee with your education and experience is paid in the first place. Many online resources are useful in this aspect. Some websites you could consider using are Salary.com. Do keep in mind that salaries vary based on the location so the results you see and actually get may be higher or lower than the national average. Also, some sites might ask you to pay for the results of these surveys. But there are also some free reports put out by professional associations and organizations- so keep those on your radar as well.
2. Talk with a career management center
A career-guidance counselor can easily help guide you in asking for a raise. They can point you out to the right online tools and even give ball park figures of what you are entitled to earn.
3. Find out what the company can afford
A little bit of research as to what the company can and cannot afford can help you ask for a raise with confidence. You can also use a salary calculator before you ask for a raise in writing or in person. The company’s annual filings are reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission if it is listed. Alternatively, you might want to judge the company’s economical health by talking to people.
Once you have finished this groundwork, it is time to practice asking for a raise in salary. Make sure you have a number in mind. Build a case to support your request. Use facts about comparable roles and evidence of recent successes.
5. Choose the right time
The best time to ask for a raise in salary is after a performance appraisal. This is when your status is high and the boss would be in good mood. You can also consider asking for a raise after successful results of team work or completion of a project. Avoid making a salary raise request when the boss is preoccupied with other important matters.
6. Build your case
Whether you are asking for a raise in email or by writing a letter, here are some steps to help you build your case:
- List your achievements from past year-If you have sold more than your colleagues, show proof of documentation.
- If you have found out solutions that helped solve some problems or improved productivity, list it too.
- Show that your company needs you and that they should willingly pay you more for what you are worth.
- If the market shows you are below what your position pays, show proof/documentation of the same.
- Document your differentiators-how do you compare with them at that level.
- Show your boss that training someone new would cost him time and money as well.
- Be prepared to demonstrate the knowledge you have gained or the extra mile you have gone in mentoring or training someone. Bring kudos letters supporting these things.
- Determine what you are willing to settle for. Most bosses won’t be happy giving you 50% raise so you might have to wait for 6 months until the company has money to afford what you are demanding.
If these points show that you do not have a case, it is best not to ask for one. Wait for some more time until you have built a case on these terms.
7. Write out a raise email sample
Once you have built a case, write out these points and prepare a script for the boss. This script should basically highlight why you are a good employee and a valuable one at that. Make sure you practice what to say when asking for the raise so that you are able to say it without having to refer to the script.
8. Have a backup plan
If, despite these pointers your request is denied, then make sure you have a backup plan. You can start by asking your boss what more is expected from you or steps you can take to improve in order to get the raise you deserve. Ask to set up a meeting again after a few months. Whatever you do, do not threaten to quit. This will only put you in the bad books of the boss or, worse, on the layoff list if the company is in bad shape financially. You can naturally start searching for a new job if your company is indeed in a bad shape or in an otherwise favorable market or if you feel your boss’s argument lacks support.
More money- we all want it! Whether your annual review is coming up or you have a change in your life situation (marriage, new baby etc) that requires you to earn more, asking for a raise is the best way to get what you deserve. We hope these 8 steps help you negotiate a raise with a strong case and get it!
Last Updated: May 6, 2021 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Meredith Walters, MBA. Meredith Walters is a Certified Career Coach who helps people develop the skills they need to find meaningful, fulfilling work. Meredith has over eight years of career and life coaching experience, including conducting training at Emory University’s Goizueta School of Business and the US Peace Corps. She is a former Member of the Board of Directors of ICF-Georgia. She earned her coaching credentials from New Ventures West and a Master of Business Administration from the University of San Francisco.
There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
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If you feel like you have been doing an excellent job at work, don’t be afraid to approach your employer for a raise. Many people are afraid to ask for raises even though they know they deserve them, making excuses like, “The economy is so down right now” or “I’ll never find a good time.” If this sounds like you, then it’s time to stop getting in your own way and to start making a game plan for getting the higher salary you deserve.
Meredith Walters, MBA
Certified Career Coach Expert Interview. 22 November 2019. Be aware that it is a fairly standard tactic to tell you that the business is already over its annual budget, to try to deter you from asking.  X Research source This means that you need to know your worth as assessed against objective criteria (see below) and be persistent.
Meredith Walters, MBA
Certified Career Coach Expert Interview. 22 November 2019. Many employers say they don’t give a raise until the employee does 20% more work than he did when he was initially hired. Here are some things you can take into account when you consider your worth:
- Your job description
- Your responsibilities, including any management or leadership tasks
- Years of experience and seniority in the company’s line of work
- Your level of education
- Your location
What information should you gather prior to pay raise negotiations?
Want more quizzes?
Meredith Walters, MBA
Certified Career Coach Expert Interview. 22 November 2019. The list will remind you of your own worth, make it concrete, and provide an objective basis for your demands.
- While some people believe it’s helpful to write down accomplishments to present to your boss, others believe your accomplishments should already be evident and you should only need to highlight those to remind your boss of what he already knows and reinforce that knowledge.  X Research source Carolyn Kepcher, Carolyn 101, p. 126, (2004), ISBN 978-0-7432-7034-2 It depends on what you know about your boss’s preferences, your relationship dynamics with your boss, and your own level of comfort with reciting your accomplishments verbatim.
- If you choose to convince your boss verbally, memorize the list.
- If you choose to present a written copy to your boss for his or her reference, have somebody proofread it for you first.
Meredith Walters, MBA
Certified Career Coach Expert Interview. 22 November 2019. This is about more than just doing your job well, which you’re already expected to do, but about going above and beyond the duties of your job and, ultimately, it boils down to improving the company’s bottom line. Some questions to consider when developing your case include:
- Did you complete or help to complete a tough project? And get positive results from it?
- Did you work extra hours or meet an urgent deadline? Are you continuing to demonstrate this type of commitment?
- Did you take initiative? In what ways?
- Did you go beyond the call of duty? In what ways?
- Did you save the company time or money?
- Did you improve any systems or processes?
- Did you empower others with your support and guidance or training? As Carolyn Kepcher says, “A rising tide lifts all boats,”  X Research source Carolyn Kepcher, Carolyn 101, p. 130, (2004), ISBN 978-0-7432-7034-2 and a boss wants to hear that you’ve helped facilitate team members and make them stronger, more positive forces for the company.