How to Ask for a Raise
Most people tiptoe around any discussion of money, wary that it might paint them as self-serving or a poor team player. This reservation applies to just about all age groups, whether it’s a nervous child asking to borrow some milk money, or an unsure adult looking for a raise.
These cultural taboos get stronger once you enter the professional job market, especially when you step into entry level positions that reward obedience and self-sacrifice. If you handle the moment poorly, asking for a raise may be considered insubordinate and clueless.
Perpetuating this attitude makes a manager’s life easier. As long as employees are afraid to ask for more money, managers save budget resources and avoid awkward conversations.
But there are effective ways to get the compensation you deserve. Keep these tips in mind before, during and after you make your request for a raise, and you’ll increase your chances of a positive answer.
Tips and Considerations
- Do your research. Visit LiveCareer and study the market rates in your industry, at your level and in your geographic area. Make sure you also understand the going rates for similar jobs in other industries. For example, LiveCareer can help you compare salaries for junior sales associates in the hospitality field as well as publishing or pharmaceuticals. Confirm your findings by talking to your mentors and industry contacts. Before you begin the conversation, arm yourself with facts.
- Time your message appropriately. If the company’s desperately in the red and layoffs are on the horizon, this may not be the best time to propose a 20 percent salary increase, no matter how much you may deserve it. If your manager’s primary goal right now is cutting costs so she can save your job, shelve your request for the moment.
- Take a look at yourself through your manager’s eyes. Have you been with the company for at least a year? How was your last performance review? Was it glowing, above average or mediocre at best? Have you made any recent or costly mistakes? Consider your contributions during the last six months. Be ready to remind your manager of every recent occasion in which you surpassed the job requirements, solved a significant problem or made the company money. Remind your manager of your value, and let her know how granting you a raise would further her own interests.
- Play your card carefully. It’s only appropriate to ask for a raise on rare occasions, which typically means once a year at the absolute most. If you’re turned down, you can’t come back a week later and try again with a better case. So don’t bungle your opportunity. Schedule the meeting for a formal time and place; don’t chase your boss down the hallway and blurt out your request while she’s only half listening. And don’t make her feel cornered, blind-sided or emotionally manipulated. Mangers don’t respond well to this.
- Have a plan in the event of a no answer. Don’t just shrug and slink off if your request is denied. Instead, stay seated and ask what you can do to get a better answer next time. What specific path should you follow and what are the milestones you’ll need to check off? Take notes and be ready to revisit the issue when the next opportunity arrives.
The job market information at LiveCareer can help you develop and deliver your request. And if you need to start looking outside your current company to find a bettersalary