How to Ask for a Raise: Do’s and Don’ts

Asking for a raise can be nerve-wracking, but it’s important to remember that you should be compensated fairly for the work you do.

In this article, we’ll discuss the best times to ask for a raise and how to do it in a way that is most likely to result in success.

We’ll also cover some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when making your request to increase your chances of getting the pay increase you’ve earned.

Best tips on asking for a raise

1. Collect positive performance reviews

When asking for a raise, it’s important to be able to back up your request with evidence of your good work. Collecting positive performance reviews like an annual review and documenting your successes shows that you’ve earned the raise you’re asking for.

2. Come prepared with hard facts & data

In addition to general praise, it’s also helpful to come to your meeting with specific examples of your value to the company in your current role. This could include hard data such as how much revenue you’ve brought in, your starting job description in comparison to your current job description, or any other valuable metrics and milestones.

3. Consider the health of your company

Before asking for a raise, it’s important to consider the financial health of your company. If business is booming, you’re more likely to be successful in your request than if the company is struggling.

4. Outline your future contributions

In addition to highlighting your past successes, it’s also helpful to outline what you’ll be able to contribute in the future. This shows that you’re committed to continuing to add value to the company, take on additional responsibility, spend additional time making improvements, and helps justify a pay increase from your current salary.

5. Research industry salary standards

When negotiating your salary increase, it’s important to have a good understanding of industry-standard salary range and what others in your position with the same job title are paid. This will help you gauge what is fair and reasonable to ask for so that you’re not selling yourself short or — on the flip side — coming across as unreasonable or greedy.

6. Come prepared with your ask

When you’re ready to make your request, be sure to come prepared with a specific figure in mind. Have a range in mind as well, so that you’re prepared to negotiate if necessary. Bringing a specific number to the table shows you’ve done your research and are confident in your request.

7. Write out a rough script

Once you’ve gathered all the information and evidence you need, it’s time to start preparing what you’re going to say. Write out a rough script of your meeting so that you’re not caught off guard or thrown off course when the time comes. This will help you stay focused and on track.

8. Practice asking for a raise with someone you trust

Once you’ve got your script down, it’s time to start practicing. Ask a friend or family member to help you role-play the meeting so that you can get comfortable with what you’re going to say. This will also help you anticipate any potential questions or objections so that you can be prepared with a response and build confidence.

9. Be prepared to be told “No” 

It’s important to remember that you may not always get the answer you want. Be prepared for the possibility that your request will be denied and have a plan for how you’ll respond. It’s also important to keep in mind that “no” doesn’t necessarily mean “never.”

If your request is denied, you can follow up in a few months and use that time to formulate a plan with key steps on how to best earn that increase in salary in the meantime.

Things to avoid when asking for a raise

1. Keep personal feelings out of asking for a raise

It’s important to keep emotions out of the equation and focus on the facts. Getting worked up, defensive, or angry will only make it harder to get what you want and could damage your relationship with your boss.

2. Avoid asking for a raise during company transition

If your company is going through tough times or a lot of changes, it may not be the best time to ask for a raise. Wait until things have settled down before making your request so that you don’t add any additional stress to the situation.

3. Don’t exaggerate results when asking for a raise

When you’re outlining your accomplishments, it’s important to stay truthful. Exaggerating your results or inflating your numbers will only backfire and make it harder to negotiate a fair salary adjustment.

4. Don’t take credit for the work of others when asking for a raise

When you’re outlining your accomplishments, make sure to take credit only for the things you’ve actually done. Taking credit for the work of others will not only reflect poorly on you but could also damage relationships with your colleagues.

5. Don’t compare yourself to others when asking for a raise

Comparing yourself to others is not only unproductive but it can also make you seem ungrateful. Focus on your own accomplishments and what you bring to the table. This will help you feel more confident in your request and increase the chances of a successful negotiation.

6. Don’t give ultimatums when asking for a raise

Threatening to quit or if your request isn’t met — ultimatums will only damage your relationship with your boss and could cost you the raise you’re asking for. Ultimatums also put you in the position of potentially having to follow through on the thread of leaving even though you may not have intended for it to go that way.

For a quick explainer of some of these tips, check out this video from the Employer Blueprint.

How to ask for a raise

Salary negotiation can be a daunting task but by following these dos and don’ts, you can increase your chances of success.

Remember, when making your salary request, stay calm, confident, and prepared when making your request. Know the market rate for someone in your role, and most importantly, avoid getting emotional or making threats.

By keeping these things in mind, you’ll be in a much better position to negotiate a fair salary and get the raise you’ve earned.

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