pay raise

Everything You Need to Know About Asking For a Pay Raise

Are you gearing up to ask your boss for a pay raise?

You may be feeling lately that you deserve to be paid more for the work you perform.

Perhaps you’ve been committed to a company for some time but don’t feel this commitment reflects in your pay.

Or, you may feel overqualified for a position and want to be compensated for what you offer.

Whatever the case, it’s important to make your financial case known to higher-ups.

When asking for a pay raise, however, it’s key to keep several things in mind. Read on for more insight into how to ask for a raise to get the results you want.

1. Prepare As Much As Possible

If you’re feeling convinced that a pay raise is in order, it’s important to take as much time as possible to prepare.

Asking for a raise isn’t just a conversation you can have in passing with your boss in the break room. It’s also not appropriate to make mention of upping your pay at the end of an important meeting.

All bosses are busy, and you may prefer to take a more informal route to ask for a raise.

But asking for more pay is a serious thing. Asking for one offhand or casually won’t leave an impression of your professionalism and intention.

It may even result in a very quick and resounding, “No!”

Give yourself as much time as you can afford to prepare for asking for a raise. It will be important to carefully think through your decision.

It will also be important to do your research, craft your plan, and practice for this conversation well in advance.

Certainly, there may be cases where asking for a raise is an urgent financial matter. You may, for example, be undergoing a financial crisis that means your current income is simply not sufficient to support yourself and/or your family.

In this case, still take time to prepare, but make sure you communicate the situation professionally to your boss.

2. Research Market Pay and Practices

You’ve given yourself time to prepare for this tough conversation. Now it’s time to do the research and get the data you need to make a solid case.

The more informed you are when you ask for a pay raise, the greater your odds are for securing the result you want.

Start by researching the average pay for positions similar to yours in the industry. You can easily do this through websites like Glassdoor, for example.

Your position may be relatively unique. You may have difficulty assessing its market pay as a result.

If you can, find the best approximation for the market standard, even if you have to generalize a bit.

Naturally, you’ll want to compare this market standard to your current pay.

Next, spend some serious time with your employee handbook, if you have one. A handbook should detail your employer’s methodology when it comes to pay raises.

Some companies immediately offer certain employees pay raises following a certain amount of time spent working there. Employees, for example, may have to undergo an annual or quarterly review in order to qualify for these raises.

If you can’t find any information in your handbook about your company’s policies on raises, ask someone who knows.

A human resources worker, for example, should be helpful here. Even colleagues may have an idea of what the policies are.

If you do consult colleagues, make sure you are careful about doing so. You don’t want any rumors spreading that may hinder your interaction with your employer.

3. Choose Your Data

The key to any effective pay raise request is data to back up your claims.

Remember: asking for a pay raise is equivalent to defending a viewpoint at a debater’s podium.

We’re not just talking about the data you’ve gathered on market pay and your employer’s way of doling out raises.

It’s time to assemble the evidence that makes a strong case for the pay raise you deserve.

This is the most crucial part of your preparations. After all, market standard or not, what you can say about why you, in particular, deserve this raise is paramount.

Work From Your Job Description

The first thing to do when brainstorming why you deserve a raise is to inspect your original job description.

What have you done recently that builds off of this description?

Have you taken on any additional job responsibilities? Have you spearheaded extra projects, mentored a new employee, or launched a new initiative?

Refer to your job description as a jumping off point for discussing your contributions to the company.

Assemble Accomplishments

In addition to noting tasks, responsibilities, and leadership roles you’ve taken within your job description, brainstorm accomplishments you’ve made since you started working at this company.

These may include reaching certain goals. It may mean writing down the leadership you’ve taken in staff meetings.

Perhaps you came up with a cool new product idea that’s taken the company to a higher level.

Any accomplishments that fit within the scope of the company should go into your notes.

Consider Your Background

Lastly, jot down notes on your background.

You may have a graduate degree in your industry. Or you may be pursuing your own independent, industry-related research in your off hours.

Any other data you can include to show your qualification for a higher pay grade is worth noting.

4. Schedule a Meeting

Don’t save your pay request for the last five minutes of the workday when your boss is rushing out the door.

Request a private meeting with your employer at a time that is most convenient for them.

Make this request through email, over the phone, or in person. Regardless, make sure you make it clear that you want to discuss work compensation.

When you both come to the meeting prepared, you’ll both be more likely to achieve the results you want.

5. Anticipate Negotiating

Pay raise conversations aren’t always predictable.

Some employers immediately accept the raise that employees suggest, especially if it’s in accordance with pay practices.

Others, however, will negotiate with employees until both can settle on a number that works for them.

Whatever the case, prepare for your meeting by practicing your negotiation skills.

Start by identifying a minimum number you’d accept in a pay raise. This may be a $1 / hour raise, for example.

Then identify the maximum number you could request that would still fit within the research you’ve done.

You can definitely offer this range to your employer when you have your conversation. Make sure you are clear about the minimum raise you feel you deserve.

Most employers will respect this request and may even offer you more than the minimum.

6. Practice Your Presentation

This is one of the most important tips on this list when it comes to asking your employer for a raise.

Practice really does make perfect.

The more polished your presentation, the more likely you will be to negotiate a comfortable raise. You want to come across as professional, prepared, and respectful.

Practice making your delivery in front of the mirror. Note your body language as you do so.

It’s important not to use body language that shows aggression, meekness, or dismissiveness. If you’ll be sitting during your meeting, practice sitting with appropriate posture.

Choose your words carefully as you practice. Avoid using passive language that doesn’t show confidence in your own case.

For example: “I was wondering if it would be possible for you to grant me a pay raise, if that’s okay.”

Use assertive language that is still respectful. Be confident in your own viewpoint.

For example: “Given my contributions to this company in 2017, I believe I should be compensated more than I currently am.”

You may also want to practice with friends or family members.

7. Make Your Case

The day of the meeting, make sure you dress professionally and arrive on time.

Bring your notes with you. In fact, type these up ahead of time in a document you can give your employer at the end of the meeting.

During the meeting, take deep breaths periodically if you are nervous. Sit up straight and look your employer directly in the eye.

Make your case based off of the notes you’ve brought with you. If you veer from your script at all, make sure you don’t say anything your boss already knows.

This may mean highlighting the fact that you’ve taken on the workload of at least three employees, or acknowledging that you’ve been in the building for over a year at this point.

Your boss knows these things. He/she will want to hear new points to support your case.

Be assertive and open to negotiation. Smile when you can, and make sure you thank your employer at the end of your discussion.

How to Ask For a Pay Raise

Asking for a raise doesn’t have to be overly intimidating. With proper preparation and foresight, it is possible to achieve the compensation you deserve.

Make sure you do your research well ahead of time and compile the data that supports your case. Schedule a meeting with your employer to have your discussion.

Prepare to negotiate an acceptable rate with your employer. And don’t forget to practice!

Do you have experience asking for a raise successfully? Share your comments below!