You've been growing your skill set, have become more of an asset to your organization, and been acing every performance review you've had.
You feel confident, ready to face any challenge that comes your way, and now you're ready to ask for a raise.
But you break out into a cold sweat at the thought of asking your current employer for a raise.
You've earned it and deserve it! And in this article we’ll give you the confidence to take that step out and ask for a salary raise.
If you're looking for some extra confidence to tackle that one-on-one interview with your boss, speak with a career counselor at Enhancv. They will be your greatest cheerleader, helping you to gain the courage to ask for exactly what you're worth.
Strategies for asking for a pay raise
Success in life depends on seizing the opportunity when it falls into your lap. But sometimes it may be hard to discern when it's appropriate to ask for a raise. Below, you'll find some factors to take into mind before asking for a pay increase:
The first step to being comfortable in addressing a salary request is to normalize it. Let's talk about some difficult concepts that may float around in the back of your mind:
- It's okay to ask for a raise.
- It's also not that big of a deal for your boss to talk about your worth to the company.
- It doesn't make you seem ungrateful.
- A raise is not a gift, but what you've earned through your hard work and dedication.
What could be the worst thing about asking for a raise? You could get turned down, but by asking for a raise, you are assessing your own worth and asking your employer to match that with a financial contribution.
Every employee grows over time on the job that they're working at, so shouldn't you be compensated for your career growth? Don’t give into imposter syndrome, feeling that you don't deserve the success you achieved.
Find the right time
Timing may be important when asking for a raise, as every company has seasons throughout a fiscal year when the company will increase profits and lean times. It's important to line up your pay increase request at the same time when your company is experiencing profit increases. For example, it may not be the best time to ask for a raise when your company is experiencing recent layoffs, cutbacks, and a hiring freeze.
By asking for a raise when your company is experiencing significant profits, you have an opportunity to show practical examples of how you led to that success.
In addition, try to time your pay raise request when your department is still figuring out its budget. After the budget is set, your manager may have less leeway to be able to offer you a raise, but if you choose the perfect time, right before it's finalized, then there may be an opportunity for you to ask for a salary increase.
You should also factor in the last time you received salary benchmarks, as this can affect the probability that you'll receive a raise now. If it's been less than a year since you received your last pay raise, then maybe you should hold off until after the one-year mark to ask for it.
Assess your performance
Do you have a performance review coming? It might be a great time to negotiate your salary because you can show directly how your contribution to the company has led to its success. If you're considering asking for a raise during an annual performance review, come ready with key points that show that you are due for a raise.
Consider your performance objectively, discovering where you've grown since you were first hired. You can almost consider a raise as a readjustment of your salary from when you were hired.
Also, you should ask yourself, why should your boss offer you more money? Will you perform additional responsibilities, or are you already performing duties which fall outside your current job description?
Research before asking for a raise
In order to understand how much of a raise you should ask for, conduct some market research. Asking for a pay raise is a negotiation, therefore you should come ready with reasons for the salary adjustment.
1. Research the market rate for your role
It should be noted that a 3% raise is considered the standard among different industries. It's not that you wouldn't be able to necessarily get more, but you may not want to go too much past that. You can gain a good understanding of the average salary of someone in your field by checking through these three sources:
- Checking online on different employment salary websites for market data.
- Speaking with human resources, company managers, and past co-workers from other organizations.
- Conducting market research by speaking with career counselors
After you learn more about the salary trends, you can come up with a specific pay rate to ask your employer for. It's important to have a number in mind before you go to the meeting. This allows you to negotiate the amount of money you feel you deserve.
2. Compile a list of your accomplishments
Come ready with a list of talking points which can be gathered from past performance reviews, written praise for your work, and even your education and qualifications. If you feel up to it, you can also reach out to some clients that you have been working with to provide you with some positive feedback and reviews of your professional expertise.
Once you've conducted your research, study that list, and commit to memory your major talking points. Be sure to provide quantitative examples of your achievements. For example, instead of just saying that you helped increase sales last year, share that you exceeded your quarterly sales quota by 40%.
Template for how to ask for a raise
Once you have the key ideas that you'd like to share, organize them with the use of a template. You can memorize that template, so that even in the heat of the moment, you'll be able to remember exactly what you've accomplished and why you deserve a pay increase.
Here's a helpful template to follow.
This is an opportunity for you to first thank your boss for meeting with you. Even if it's just a short meeting, they are still taking time out of their day to meet with you and to check in and see how things are going.
Also, in the introduction, you can also hint at where the conversation is going by starting to explain that you have developed new skills since the last time you met.
Ask for that raise
The hardest thing that you’ll have to do is to actually ask the question. Once you ask for a pay increase, the weight will be lifted from your shoulders, and you'll enter a salary negotiation. Honestly, it’s that first question that is the hardest to get out.
Back it up
You need to show your worth by giving tangible reasons why you deserve a raise.
One of the best tips is to show that you've gone outside your comfort zone and taken on new tasks and responsibilities. This can show your manager that you are somebody who is always developing your skill set, making yourself more valuable to the company.
Say thank you
Whether you receive a raise, it's common sense to thank your employer for taking the time to sit down with you and discuss it. This common courtesy can even show your boss how you handle adversity.
What to do if you're rejected
Not every meeting is a big win, and sometimes you may not get that extra money that you're hoping for.
But if you're determined to get this raise, use this meeting as a learning opportunity. Use the lessons you've learned at your next annual review to win over your boss.
Below, you'll find some common answers that you may receive when being rejected for a raise:
I like to think of this as not a rejection, but a tabling the discussion for a later date. This is a win because you've shown that you deserve a raise, and your boss has acknowledged it.
By asking for tips on how to better show your worth, you can find ways to exceed your boss's expectations.
Room for improvements
If your boss is making it clear to you that the work that you're doing does not exceed expectations, don't stress. Here's an opportunity for you to clarify expectations and gain a better understanding of how to succeed in your role.
4 things to avoid when asking for a raise
Just like anything in the workplace, there are right ways of going about asking for a raise and wrong ways. Although it may seem like you're simply talking with your manager, there are things you can bring up and things that you may not want to bring up. Below, you can find four things to avoid when asking for a raise:
- Don't mention personal reasons for the raise.
- Don't take credit for somebody else's work or makeup numbers to make yourself seem better.
- Don't underrate your contribution to the company.
- Don't give up too easily.
- Timing is everything when asking for a raise.
- Conduct research and come prepared.
- Confidence is key, so don't sell yourself short and give up too easily.
If you're trying to gain the confidence to ask your boss for a raise, it's a good idea to speak with a career counselor at Enhancv, who can come alongside you and help you prepare. Not only do they have years of experience working with professional organizations, they can also walk you through a step-by-step guide to ask for a raise.