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How to ask for a raise and actually get one

March 23, 2019 4 min read

How to ask for a raise and actually get one

Asking for a raise is not the most pleasant talk. Even when you deserved it and worked hard for it - it is still quite awkward for you and disturbing for your employer. Also, it is not always obvious when, or how, to ask for a raise. Educating yourself so that you can formulate a strategy will result in a better outcome than going in blindly. Let’s admit it - usually, all the raise conversation starts with an angry tone or disappointment. We should put an end for that. 

Here’s a list of the top 10 dos and don’ts when it comes to asking for a raise.


KNOW THE RULES. Before you start - analyze your company’s policy. Do they carry out performance reviews every three months? Every six months? Every year? The easiest way to do it - talk to your co-workers or if your company is big - reach your human resources department, and they will let you know when it will be the best time for your talk. 

REHEARSE. It is hard to pull it off when you haven’t thought about it. If you want a raise, you can’t just walk in your boss office empty-handed. Brainstorm a list of concrete reasons as to why you deserve a raise. Even better - write them down, because in the moment of stress you will forget something important and probably there will not be a second chance any time soon. 

DRESS FOR THE PART. It is true what they say - don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the one you want to have. Of course, you don’t need to overdo it. But when the day comes - do take those few extra minutes and iron your blouse and wax your shoes - it is the little things that make a difference.  

THE RIGHT TIMING. If your company is small and doesn’t have a human resources department and there are not a lot of co-workers that can help you, you have to create a strategy. The best thing to do here is to work hard and do the best work you can do. Dive into tasks and creative process, if needed - work extra hours. And when you achieve something worth mentioning, some big accomplishment like land a big sale or scored a deal or got that client that everyone wanted - then is the right time to do the raise talk. Your boss will be thrilled, you will have some huge argument, and you will probably get the raise. 


DON'T BE COWARD and don’t try to ask for a raise via email. The email is a perfect way to schedule a meeting, but the scary talk you have to do face to face. Firstly, because it shows that you are ready for the discussion and you thought about it and secondly because it is much easier to say no or ignore the mail then a real human interface.

DON'T BOTHER YOUR BOSS when he is overworked and stressed. Again, you have to strategize your moves, if your boss is in a bad mood and has some important problems to solve - wait a week or couple until the timing is right.

DON'T ASK for a ridiculous amount of money. It is very important to know your worth but never overestimate yourself. You have to know how much similar positions earn, for instance, if you want from junior manager to become a manager you have to know the money gap between it, or at least imagine it, to know how much you should ask. 

DON'T GIVE AN ULTIMATUM unless you are truly willing to lose your job. You don’t want to come across as too harsh or demanding. There are times when you think that if this time you won’t have a promotion you will quit. If this is the case, you have to have a safety plan - a backup offer from the other company or employee. Then you can easily quit if the conversation goes wrong and you understand that your boss is never willing to change your position or salary. 

NEVER TALK ABOUT OTHERS. It is the wrong manner to talk about your co-worker's salary in comparing to yours. Even if you know someone makes more money than you and you think that you deserve a wage that’s equal-or higher-it’s advisable to keep that kind of private information out of your conversation.

DON'T BE TOO PERSONAL. When you are talking about salary - it’s all about business and your abilities to do the job or take a higher position. Some things are better left unsaid like you need a raise because you need to pay more money for rent or your husband or wife lost a job. It is too personal and not related to your job or your boss. 

Maybe you have been in a similar situation before or even better - preparing for the talk right now? Let us know what advice would you give or what worked for you in the past!

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