How to Ask for a Raise and What Not to Do

ask for a raise

Asking for a raise is like asking your parents to extend your curfew. You have to negotiate; whether you know how to or not. I recently talked with my boss to ask for a raise and it was only the third time in my life I’ve ever done this. I’m not a natural negotiator. I just don’t have that skill set. But this didn’t stop me because I knew Google would share the secrets of a natural negotiator.

A common surprising theme I read is to not let Fear stop you. Think about it…you got to be fearless to ask for a raise. After that, you collect yourself, take a deep breath and follow the steps you researched and planned out. But…If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

6 Things You Must Do

What is Your Value to the Company or Firm?

Talk about what you do and how you help your employer succeed. How do you contribute to the team? Give stats and tangible evidence. Don’t mention your “worth”. Let your boss conclude that on his or her own. If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

What is Your Value on the Open Market?

Do your research and find out exactly what you really are worth. Find out both salary and benefits. Don’t listen to coworkers and the grapevine. Almost everyone thinks they’re underpaid or under-compensated. The truth is that most aren’t. Talk with staffing agencies and recruiters. After finding out your true worth keep it to yourself. NEVER tell your boss. If you really are worth more, than you have a foundation to work off of. If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

Talk About Your Work – Positive Performances, Successes, Your Value

What did your company or team accomplish that you directly contributed to? If you say, “I’m a hard worker” how will your boss know that’s true. There needs to be evidence. If you’re not helping the bottom line than most likely no raise will be coming. If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

Ask Your Boss About Your Performance

Almost every company and firm has annual reviews to help both you and your chain of command know how you’re performing. Ask your boss if you’re meeting expectations and where you might need to grow. This will give you crucial information on how he or she views your worth. If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

Don’t Make it Personal

Don’t say, “I deserve a raise”. Don’t get emotional. Your boss is not your friend. Keep the conversation focused and centered on your work, not on you. If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

Think Like A CEO

Are you worth $$$ amount? Will it be cheaper to replace you? Are you asking for the next level’s money without a promotion? In other words are you asking for a raise without the responsibility? CEO’s look at the cost and value. Think like a CEO. If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

8 Things You Should Never Do

Don’t Threaten

This might sound like a silly thing to do…because it is. But you’ll be surprised with how many people go in and say, “I’ve been offered another job but would like to stay here so where’s that raise?”. This should be the last option, never the first. You want your boss to come to the conclusion on his or her own that you’re worth more.  You can do all the other things suggested first and then maybe throw in that you’ve received an offer but would like to stay. This way you’re not putting your boss into the corner and having him fight his way out. If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Coworkers

It might seem like a fair strategy because you’re working harder or performing better. Don’t fall into this trap! You negotiated your salary, your coworker negotiated theirs. Your pay is a reflection of your work, not your coworkers. A comparison might lead you to do some research and that’s alright, but then keep it to yourself. If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

Don’t Ask Out of the Blue

Bosses rarely like surprises that have to do with money. Unless they’re getting more. Be professional and schedule a meeting time. If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Your Boss

You might be doing some of your bosses work but this doesn’t mean you should have their position or salary. In some cases you’re supposed to be doing it. You might be learning the ropes or entry level. But if your boss is abusing his or her power do you really think you can negotiate a raise honestly? If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

Don’t be a Whineranalyze this

No one likes a whiner. If you don’t know who the whiner in your group is then it’s probably you. You need to communicate effectively like an adult. If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

Don’t Ask for CEO Money

Research your worth and ask for that. If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

Leave Market Research Out of It

After you’ve figured out your open market value don’t tell your boss. You’re only using this for research and to convince yourself to ask for a raise the right way. And stick to the proper suggestions mentioned above. If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

Not Ask for a Raise

That’s right! The biggest mistake you can make is to not ask for more compensation (pay and/or benefits), or ask for too little if you do deserve one. You really want to negotiate again in a year? That’s a lot of stress. But be careful! Deserving one is dictated by the open market, job availability for you, and employer’s financial state. If you have a “sense of entitlement” then don’t ask for a raise.

Check out – What Not to Say During an Interview

Featured image by http://www.flickr.com/photos/40116219@N08/

2nd image by http://www.flickr.com/photos/26073312@N08/

About John

Passionate. Life Learner. Thinker. Christ Follower. Investor. Conversationalist. Army Veteran. Dog Lover. Corporate Colleague. Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs fan. Follow me on Twitter.

Comments

  1. I have to agree with the majority of your points here: asking for a raise is a fairly simple process when you go through a checklist of what to do and not to do.

    However, I must disagree with the point: “Leave Market Research Out of It” Perhaps my experience is contrary to norm but, I have always used it in my requests and with great success.

    I have made a habit of reminding my bosses of the current market value (fair wage) for someone of comparable skills, experience and my personal performance. The last point is most important, because many just believe their experience and skills are enough but, today results must be the driving force.

    In the past I have simply stated, “the current market value average is… and as you can see from example A and B in my performance that I am much better than the average. I am looking for at least the average.” It sounds bold but, it does show confidence and if you are truly working and performing, not just doing your job, it should work. Each time (4 times now) I have received what raise I asked for, based on the average or more.

    • Scott, thanks for sharing your experience. You’re probably right that one shoe doesn’t fit all and we’ll all have to use sound judgement in our unique situations.

      I did like what you said here, “It sounds bold but, it does show confidence and if you are truly working and performing, not just doing your job, it should work.”

  2. I work in an industry with razor-thin margins. Raises just don’t happen over a few cents company wide. Because a company with higher labor costs had to charge more and will lose more bids. The only way to get a raise is to advance.

    What I’m considering instead is switching to a closer company. If I can shave 30 miles per day off my driving, that is an extra grand in my pocket over a year.

    • How far is your commute? I’ve been in a situation like that where the only raise came with advancing or leaving. I ended up leaving, it was the only option. Unless my boss quit and that wasn’t happening.

      • It varies all the time, since I work in the field. Today it was 13 miles, but last week, it was over 60. While I work at field locations, the jobs they get tend to be centered around the area they are based.

  3. I can’t threaten when I ask for a raise?! That must be why I didn’t get my last one. 😉 Seriously though, great tips and I used many of the “to do” ones myself in the past. I have found a big key is to keep your emotions out of it.

    • Ah…emotions, the killer of most professional conversations. Now that you’re self-employed do you threaten yourself or maybe your wife for a raise? 🙂

  4. These are all great tips. Lately I’ve been working more on extra income because I can grow that much more higher than I can with a raise.

  5. Asking for a raise can be a slippery slope if you don’t do it right. Most people demand one or threaten. I just allow my work and myself speak. I work hard to be a great asset to my company and I am justly rewarded for doing so. Most of the time, I don’t have to ask for one.

    • Grayson, glad to hear your work is able to speak for you. I don’t think it works for all and have seen many times a hard worker not get rewarded. I guess having the wisdom to know which situation one is in also helps.

  6. While you shouldn’t threaten, I think it may be legitimate to compare to other companies’ salaries for comparable work, if you’ve had an offer.

    • Definitely do the research and compare, just don’t threaten with that info. If you do decide to bring it up best to do so after going over the other points.

  7. I agree with all your points but also agree with Scott. Don’t leave market research out of it. I worked as Vice President of marketing at a financial institution in Silicon Valley. I had instances where I asked for a raise and had employees ask me for raises. There are definitely more successful ways to ask for raise.

    1) Definitely show your value to the company. You might hold a title but that means nothing if you aren’t contributing to the overall health and profitability of the organization. I suggest listing your latest contributions and accomplishments. Things both in your job description and things outside of it.

    2) Use market research for yourself and for your boss. It shows that you’ve done some research and may be paid below market. Maybe the market changed? Maybe your responsibilities have changed and need to consider two job descriptions versus the one?

    3) Ask for a raise. Ask for a raise when you job description changes, your workload increases and you’ve taken additional department employees. Don’t wait for the time you need the money to pay for a child’s college tuition or buying a larger home. Relate it to your job functions.

    I’ve had employees ask me for a raise and I usually go back and state, “List all the accomplishments you’ve done in the last year. I’ll take a look at it and see what I can do.” As her boss I should know what she’s doing but that isn’t the case. In my mind I could simply think she’s doing what she is paid to do but maybe she took on additional responsibilities that I wasn’t aware of. But, I found most employees when asked to provide a reason for the raise never provide one. It makes no sense whatsoever to me.

    Last comment – Don’t ask for a raise because you simple think you deserve one. Ask for a raise when you deserve one.

    • Thanks for sharing! I really liked your 3rd point. Often times we wait till we’re “comfortable” or “ready”. But that’s usually too late and a raise isn’t warranted or tougher to justify.

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