How to ask for, and receive the raise you deserve

Asking for a raise can be one of the scariest things you can do during your career, but that doesn’t mean you should do it.

You feel like you work hard and deserve it but it’s natural to question how your boss views your work ethic. These situations can be especially difficult for women, who are promoted significantly less than men. A study from and McKinsey & Co. shows that although men and women want to be promoted almost equally at 78% and 75% respectively – women are less likely to get that promotion.  In a perfect world, we work hard and our bosses notice that hard work and reward us for it. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. We don’t get what we don’t ask for but there’s a right and wrong way to do everything.

Here are some ways to set yourself up for an easier conversation about a pay bump:

Be open and honest. Schedule a meeting with your manager and be clear about your intentions. Let him/her know that you want to do your best in your current role, but would also like to advance in your career. Ask for feedback and advice on what you can do to position yourself to be ready for the next step and improve in your current job. When you finally decide to ask for a raise, you will have implemented everything they told you to succeed.

Show initiative. In addition to the responsibility you already have, start taking on jobs that your future self will have. If you know your dream job requires you to be a good writer, ask your boss for projects that will highlight and develop your writing skills.

Stop being humble. Communicating your wins are key to making it easy for your boss to give you a raise. Whenever you launch a new campaign or implement a new idea of yours, share the results with your boss as often as possible. If your manager is consistently seeing the benefits of your hard work, it won’t take much convincing that you deserve a raise.

Do your research. Never go into a negotiation without know exactly what you want and exactly how you came to that conclusion.

“You need to have a solid foundation for the request and realistic expectations. Study salary trends for professionals in your geographic area and industry with similar job titles, qualifications and responsibilities,” Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group told Forbes.

Think about what others are making in your area, with the same job and workloads. Studies also show that when candidates come in with an exact number such as $75,200 instead of a range such as $70,000 - $76,000 they are less likely to be hit with a counteroffer.


But what are you supposed to say when you’re finally face to face with your manager?

Keep in mind that during these negotiations, you should never mention that you need more money because you have to pay your kids’ tuition or your husband just got laid off. Don’t make it about your personal issues but what you’ve contributed to the company’s bottom line.

Here are some things you should keep in mind before going into a meeting:

·         Timing. Timing is everything. When are performance reviews usually done at your company? Once a year? On your work anniversary? You also done want to ask for a raise when people are being laid off or departments are being cut. But it could be the right time if you are doing the work of multiple people under different circumstances, like a position not being filled.

·         Practice your pitch. Go into your meeting with your manager know exactly what you want to say and be very careful with the way you phrase things.

If you’re having trouble with the verbiage, try something along the lines of this example by Allison Green of Ask a Manager blog:

"I was hoping that we could talk about my salary. It's been a year since my last raise, and in that time, I've taken on quite a few new responsibilities. I'm now solely responsible for overseeing our website and, as you mentioned last week, our results in that area have shot way up.  In addition, I know you're happy with the changes that I've made to our press releases, and we've been getting a 25 percent higher rate of response when we pitch those. Now that I've been doing these things for a while, I'd like to discuss increasing my salary to a level that reflects these increased contributions." 

What should you do if you don’t get it?

Don’t worry, the worst that can happen is you’ll get a no. If you aren’t successful in getting a raise or promotion, ask your manager what you can do to get it in the future. Learn about what goals need to be met before they’ll consider giving you more money. Threatening to leave if you don’t get a pay raise it a risky move, so you should try to use this rejection as a learning experience and try again next year.


What advice would you give someone negotiating a raise at work?