Perhaps you’ve been checking the market and see that other companies pay more for your job. Or it’s been a few years since you’ve seen a bump in pay. Asking for a well-deserved raise can be a stressful experience – one we really like to avoid. But if you continue to wait for your employer to give you a raise – you could be waiting a long time.
Remember that your boss may have a lot on his or her plate. What you are being paid just may not be on their mind. If you are struggling financially or just feel it’s time for a bump in pay, you need to ask for it. You can get that well-deserved raise if you ask for, the right way.
If you are considering approaching your boss for a raise, always walk in prepared. You may have one opportunity to plead your case, so be ready. As you prepare to ask for a raise, do the following:
- Know your accomplishments – There is a difference between doing your job and doing it well. Think back about your performance over the last year. Have you knocked it out of the park with any important projects? If you are in sales, maybe you landed a big account or you’ve continued to beat your sales goals every year? Perhaps you’ve taken over a new responsibility and have done a great job. Know what you’ve accomplished over the year and don’t be afraid to share it.
- Compare – There are many industry-sites that you can pull comparable salary information on. When you meet with your boss, know what salary range you are looking for and have the data to support it. Indeed.com offers an online salary comparison tool. Drop-in your job title and see what results come up. Take into consideration where you live, as pay rates can vary based upon your location. If you see a big gap between what you are paid against the industry average, this may be a good time to ask for that bump.
Timing is everything
When asking for a raise, choosing the right time is critical. Timing can be the difference between getting a raise and not getting one. Consider asking for a raise at these times;
- Annual Review – During your annual review, compensation is an acceptable topic to discuss. If you’ve had a good year, bring up a pay raise during your evaluation.
- Successful Project – When you perform well on an important project, this can be a great time to ask for a bump in compensation.
- Your company may have a budget in place that prevents from giving you a raise. Know when the new fiscal budget is being prepared and ask for your raise then.
Another time to consider asking is when your employer is in the right mood. Perhaps your branch just knocked it out of the park with a new account or completed a large task. If you were a team member that was instrumental in this accomplishment, this may be a good time to ask.
What should I say?
Your job is to convince your boss that you deserve a raise. What you say, and how you say, can make the difference between getting that bump in pay or not. When you approach your employer;
- Be clear and direct – When you talk to your boss, be clear in what you’d like to discuss. It may be as simple as “I’d like to discuss my compensation with you – is this a good time?”
- Know what you want – You’ve done the research and you know what you’re worth. Be specific in what you are asking for – and ask for it. Leaving it up to your boss to figure out an amount could net you much less than what you expect.
- Plead your case well – You want to continue with the company, so share some excitement about its future. Be gracious in what your boss, and the company, has done for you and use this as an opening to approach a bump in pay. But most importantly – be confident. If you aren’t confident that you deserve a raise, why would your boss be?
What else should I consider?
When you are asking for a raise, keep a few things in mind.
- Be able to answer questions – Your boss will most likely ask why you think you deserve a raise. Know that answer and deliver it – confidently. Back it up with data and facts, as much as possible.
- Keep it negotiable. Your boss may be willing to give you the bump, but it may not be the full amount that you are asking for. Know this going in and keep your salary expectations to a range, at least in your mind. You may want $5,000, but you’re ok with $3,000. If you don’t get as much as you want, it can be tough. Being realistic with your expectations can go a long way.
- Not the right time. In some cases, a company just may not have enough money to give you a raise. If that’s the case, consider asking if this can be addressed at a later time. Or, you might ask for more perks, such as a few extra vacation days. To help you save in gas money and commuting time, ask your boss if they’d be willing to offer a shorter work-week, flex-time, or telecommuting.
- Asking for a raise can be uncomfortable. We don’t know what to expect or how our boss will react. But raises don’t just fall on our laps. There are times that you will need to ask for one. When you prepare yourself and ask for it properly, you can get that well-deserved salary bump.