Right now, I bet you’re thinking about all the things you could do with that extra cash.
But hold on! You should only ask for a raise if you have a good reason to. (Sorry, “because I’m broke” and “I really deserve this” are not acceptable answers.)
Also, keep this in mind: you don’t get a raise for just doing your job. That’s called a salary. You’re already receiving that.
So what are some good reasons to ask for a raise?
- I worked my butt off all year (and have results to prove it)
- I went above and beyond my job description on numerous occasions
- I love my current job and I don’t want to change jobs in order to increase my income
- I am underpaid for my position (and I did my research and have proof of this)
When should I ask for the raise?
Make your ask a few weeks before a review period. This will give your boss the time to consider the proposal and inquire to any of her supervisors or HR about the increase before your annual review. Don’t wait to ask at the review! It’s too late by then.
You can also make your ask after you recently received a positive performance review. This is excellent timing because your value to the company is fresh in your boss’s mind.
If you do not have annual reviews or feedback sessions at your company, then make your ask at a time that seems best for your boss. Do not make the ask when she’s busy, stressed, or right before she goes on a vacation! You want your boss to have the time to review and consider your proposal.
How do I make my ask?
Write a letter to your boss outlining the reasons why you deserve the raise. The reasons should be because you’ve done x, y, and z, not because you’re awesome or you’re going through a hard time right now. Remember, you’re convincing someone to give you money. Saying “because I deserve it” won’t budge a penny. You have to show that your work and effort is equal to the money you’re asking for.
Then hand it to your boss, saying something like “I’ve written you a letter to discuss my compensation/raise/salary. Would you read it, and can we find some time to meet and discuss it?”
Boom! Done and Done.
A great resource that I’ve used is GetRaised, which helps you research the average income for someone with your job title and guides you through the process of writing that ask letter.
What do I say during the conversation?
Just stay calm, and refer back to the contents of your letter. Here are some common responses and some replies you can use.
Why do you think you deserve a raise?
Don’t panic! You already have this sorted out. Refer to your letter that lists the accomplishments you’ve made. Maybe you saved the company money or increased its income. Maybe you’ve improved processes or recently taken on the share of work that used to be someone else’s role. Whatever it is, refer right back to the reasons you outlined in your letter.
The organization is cutting back right now/had losses; this isn’t a good time to ask.
Do not let this stop you. Your raise is not a reflection of your company’s wealth. Negotiate for an increase on a sliding scale, such as a bump in pay in January and another in July. If that doesn’t work, set a date right then and there to have this conversation again in 3 to 6 months.
People your senior haven’t asked for/seen a raise in years.
Make it clear that your ask is an independent issue. Your raise is about your work, not whether or not someone else has also asked for a raise. Turn the conversation back to reasons in the letter.
What if they say no?
It’s OK if they say no. It might happen. If the decline is due to company funds or timing, don’t give up! Set a time in the future to ask again. If the decline is due to your performance, ask your boss to clarify expectations or goals that you should be meeting. Then work hard to meet those goals, and after you achieve it make that ask again!
OK, I think I understand. Now what should I do?
Now go out there and get that raise! (And don’t blow it all in one weekend.)