How to Ask For a Raise

The below post is a guest post.

So you have been in your job for a while, acted as the best employee they have ever had, and now you feel you deserve to get more from your career. Asking for a raise is uncomfortable at best, and disastrous at worst. Although it is not impossible to get a ‘yes’ from your boss, whether or not you succeed will depend largely on the way you approach the issue. Here are some dos and don’ts I’ve picked up on in my research:

Do be patient, don’t rush it

If you have been there for two weeks, a day, or are in the middle of your probationary period, asking for a raise is going to do little more than annoy your bosses. Those who have been with a company and proved their worth for a while are the ones who attract higher wage packets. Wait for at least six months, or at least until the end of your probationary period.

Don’t do it if you are lazy, do if you are a great employee

If you have been in your job for a little while, but you have continuously worked your way through by doing the bare minimum, you are not going to get a raise. Bosses give more money to those who have made a consistent effort to work beyond the responsibilities of their role, and if you are not that person you are fighting a losing battle.

Do be confident, don’t stutter

If you head into your bosses’ office, mumbling that you want a raise and avoiding their stare, you are not going to inspire confidence in them. If you do not come across as someone who truly believes they are deserving of a raise, your boss is not going to see you as someone that is deserving of one either. When you do ask for one, put your best foot forward.

Do be polite, don’t be cocky

If you walk into your bosses’ office with swag, you are going to do nothing more than make them hate you. They will feel that you have a sense of entitlement, and they will automatically reject your request for a raise. Be polite, explain why you feel you want a raise, and do be courteous if they decline your request. Remember, they are not obliged to do what you ask and they will be less likely to grant you a raise if you are arrogant.

Do create a case for yourself, don’t go in there empty handed

When you ask for a raise, the chances are your boss may grill you to hell and back to try and find out why you deserve one. This is particularly the case for those who work for a large company, as the boss may not have noticed you or your efforts yet. You need to be able to create a pitch, and sell yourself to the person who is in control of how much you earn.

By following the above tips, you will be more likely to get a raise. Remember: If you’re successful, my fee is only a modest $10% : )



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30 thoughts on “How to Ask For a Raise

  1. Great tips Daisy! Unlike most people, I have never had to ask for a raise at my current job. I feel very fortunate that our bosses always offer us a fair (and substantial) raise at the end of every year. Hopefully, that pattern will continue:)

  2. Some awesome tips... I think the most important thing is to have the justification why you deserve it. Think of the possible challenges that you could be presented with and have answers. My company has a very rigid system in place which controls raises relative to performance, so I very much feel that my hard work will be rewarded!

  3. This is a tough subject but those who never ask will never get an extra raise. The key is knowing your organization and knowing what your boss can do iin addition to having a strong case.

  4. Great tips! I love the points about being confident and polite. I think you'll get much more traction by showing you know what you're worth while at the same time being cordial and rational about it. That will come through and, in general, make for a better argument.

  5. When I got a raise recently, it was definitely because I was confident and had an "arsenal" of reasons why. Primarily, I'm the only person in the company who can weld and we can a lot of contracts based on that, so they need me, and I let them know that. Worked well!

  6. Great tips! You need to show what value you added to the company. If you have billed a lot to customers, or brought a lot of contract, then it is easy to put a number on it and ask for a %. If your job is less noticeable, go the extra mile to get noticed, identify problems and solve them, like TB says if they need you, they'll have to say yes!

  7. I've been in my position for about 18 months, and have yet to get a raise. I feel like I can't ask for one because company earnings are way down, and there have been layoffs recently, even though I'm entitled to one (based on what people in similar positions with similar experience at other companies are earning). If it gets to 24 months with still no whisper of a raise, I'm going to be prepared to go in and ask for one.

  8. Eddie

    I've successfully negotiated 5 raises over the 7 years I've worked with my employer. In all cases I never asked for a raise, but waited for the annual review, listed to what was presented, and countered. The key is to do your research well ahead, and know what you want. There have been years where I wasn't chasing the money, but compensated money in perks - free cellphone, ETR toll coverage, car allowance, gas allowance etc...

    I loved all your points, but the cockiness/swag...well you need to have swagger. Everyone should have their own unique swag. If you're good at what you do, your swag will come out naturally. However, It's tough at times, because it borderlines with cockiness, but swag in my books is tres important!

    1. I agree. You don;t need to be cocky but you need to have confidence. If you show confidence in the job that you have done and the productivity that you can give in the future you will no doubt get a raise.

  9. I work in the public sector also so asking for a raise is pointless. The only way I get raises is either from cost-of-living increases (which are non-existant) or by promotions (which are also non-existant). The points you make do help though, just being polite, confident and good at your job gets you noticed and increases your chances at a promotion.

  10. Also, if you can quantify your contribution to the company, you will have a much better chance! I always try to keep track of cost savings and efficiencies that I have brought to the company, so that I have the numbers to back up my request for a raise.

  11. If possible, add dollar signs to the case wherever you can. "I held the clients' hands as we went through this $10MM deal... and here's an email where they said how much they appreciated all my help"... Connections to the bottom line will only strengthen your case.

  12. dollarsandcents

    You should write an article on what do to AFTER you ask for a raise, whether you get it or not. I recently asked for a raise and was denied (was told our head office makes the decisions, not my manager(s) here in USA).

    One thing I didn't think about was a plan B. Since I was denied, I feel like I should have asked for more vacay or something to compensate, but I didn't because I didn't pre-plan getting denied! My neighbour said one should only ask for a raise if they actually have a plan B in mind... i.e. another job potential or willingness to walk away. What do you think??

  13. I can't ask for real raises either because I work for government =( but I tried and I might get a little bump but I'm not optimistic... standard increase for 1 year of service + inflation already went through though and that was pretty sweet even if I don't get anything else.

  14. I've worked in the private sector upon graduation, but not long enough to feel I deserve a raise. I work in the public sector and while getting a raise based on merit, would be wonderful, I'm happy with the benefits, vacation time and relaxed environment.

  15. I definitely like the tip about making a case for yourself. I plan on asking for a raise soon because there is a guy I'm managing who has a higher title than me Wtf?

    Also Don't go in and ask for a raise because you want more money, mention how you want more responsibility. Even though you really want more money, haha.

  16. I'm confused. Who is the expert?

    I like the tip about not going in empty handed. I've had employees come in and say "I want a raise." Then, when I ask why, they've got nothin', as if that question had never occurred to them. For one second, before asking for a raise, you should probably wonder, "Why do I deserve one?"

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