Asking your supervisor for a raise can be a stressful experience. But if you’ve put in the hard work and deserve to be further compensated, there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel confident asking for more money. But don’t just march into your boss’s office one day and blurt out your request. Planning your approach ahead of time will help increase the odds that you get what you ask for a raise. That means getting the timing, wording, and various other details right.
1. Confirm that you deserve it
Before asking your boss for a raise you should first ask yourself if you truly deserve one. Have you gone above and beyond your assigned duties whenever possible? Are you a team player who wants to help the business succeed? Do you want to stay with this company and grow as an employee? If you can answer “yes” to these questions then you’re probably in a good position to ask for a raise more in return.
2. Get the timing right
Do some basic research to determine whether or not your company is doing well in the current market. If you see people being laid off left and right, it’s not a good time to ask for a raise. If, however, you get wind of good profit margins and notice that your company is hiring new talent, you are in a much better position to approach your higher-ups about promotions and pay raises. Ask to meet with your boss a few days in advance and request a morning discussion before deadlines and meetings have taken over. Also, expect to have conversations about compensation about once a year.
3. Know what to ask for a raise
Research what professionals in your industry with your level of experience typically earn. If your salary is far below those numbers, consider whether your company is truly underpaying you or just has lower budgets. When you ask for more money, be clear about what you are asking for and leave nothing to misinterpretation. You can generally expect an increase between 1 and 5% for a job well done. If a promotion is part of the deal however, then you can expect a little more.
4. Practice what you’ll say
Preparation is key when it comes to these important types of conversations with your superiors. Outline what you’d like to say and then envision how you can communicate in a clear and focused manner. Practice what you’ll say at home a few times before meeting with your boss. Ask your roommate or spouse to play the role of your supervisor and act out how the conversation might go.
5. Focus on your strengths
Make the discussion all about your strengths as an employee. Have a list of five to ten things you’ve accomplished over the past six months and how they added value to your company. While you should speak with confidence, be sure not to come across as demanding. Also, don’t whine about your job. If you’re doing work that’s above or below your paygrade, mention what you’ve been doing as part of your daily or weekly tasks but don’t complain about the work. Instead, keep the focus on what parts of your job you’re good at and what you love doing.
6. Talk about the future
After reviewing your recent accomplishments in your job, start to talk about the future. List your career goals and how you hope to go about achieving them with the company. Try to get a feel from your boss as to where you might be headed as an individual and as a team, and ask how you can continue to flourish as a professional.
7. Avoid comparisons
If you happen to know that your officemate just received a letter to ask for a raise, resist the urge to point that out. Avoid speaking negatively of the company and any co-workers or supervisors. Don’t point out what others are doing wrong. Also, don’t threaten to quit if you don’t get what you want. That kind of power play is usually not received well. Simply shed light on what you’re doing to help move the company in the right direction.
8. Leave your personal life out
If you’ve been experiencing hardship at home, be sure to leave those personal details out of this professional conversation. Your boss may genuinely care about your personal life but it’s not appropriate to worry aloud about supporting your family, taking care of a sick relative or paying the bills. Those topics are better left to out-of-office friendships.
9. Show gratitude
Be sure to thank your supervisor for his or her time at the conclusion of the meeting. End on a positive note, no matter how the conversation goes, and politely ask when you can follow up for more information. Show initiative but also show gratitude.
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