Although there's always a chance you will get a raise at your annual performance review or when you receive a promotion, those are not guaranteed, and companies often skip them when budgets are tight. This can leave you feeling like you have fallen through the cracks and are not earning what you deserve. In this situation, the best thing to do is to have a level-headed and professional conversation in which you make your case and ask your boss to give you a raise.
Preparing to Ask for a Raise
Start by researching how much money people in similar jobs, either at your company or elsewhere, are earning. It's important to not only look at people with the same job title, but people who have similar responsibilities to yours and who make the type of contributions you are making. Your HR department can help answer questions about pay scales within your company, and glassdoor.com and payscale.com can help you make comparisons.
In preparation, list some of your recent accomplishments that highlight how valuable you are to your company. If you have implemented changes that have saved the company time or money, these make you an ideal candidate for a raise. Successful completion of a project or taking on new responsibilities can also make you a strong candidate for getting a raise. You can also look to customer feedback and praise you have received from within the community to help build the case that you deserve more money than you are getting.
Discussing a Raise With Your Boss
Make an appointment with your boss so you have time for a proper conversation. In general, time this meeting after you have successfully completed some visible tasks, and not too close to your annual review, when your boss is likely to be busy with other requests. Come to that appointment prepared to make your case and really sell yourself.
Be calm and confident during your conversation, and don't raise your voice or show signs of anger or frustration if it is not going as you hoped it would. As you talk, build your case for why you deserve a raise, based on the contributions you have made to your team and to the company as a whole. It can also help to look to the future and tell your boss what value you will be adding in the coming months that will justify the raise.
When you come to the end of the conversation, make a specific request for a percent or dollar amount raise. Your concluding statement should reinforce your past performance and future potential, along with an assertion that a raise of the amount you are asking for is fair and justified. After you are done, resist the urge to keep talking or circle back around to points you have already discussed. Instead, just wait for your boss to respond.
Tips for Best Results
- Practice the conversation with a friend and get feedback on how it went. Your friend can provide valuable input on whether you were convincing or if there were parts of your conversation that dragged, and how your request comes across.
- Project confidence through your body language. Sit up straight, avoid fidgeting, use direct eye contact, and don't be afraid to give a genuine smile if it seems appropriate.
- If you cannot get a raise, ask for a one-time bonus instead. Often your boss will be better able to give this because it does not come with a long-term commitment from the company.
Reviewed November 2022