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How to Ask for a Raise

If you know that you deserve more than what you are currently making at your job, but you're not sure what to do, consider asking for a raise. How do you properly ask for a raise to get paid what you’re worth? Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you navigate the path to your pay raise.

Show Your Boss You’re Ready for More Responsibility

You’ve probably heard that showing initiative is a good thing, but how do you go about doing that? One of the best ways that you can show that you that you are deserving of a pay raise is to ask your boss for more responsibility. If you complete your daily tasks early, ask your boss if there is anything else that they need for you to do.

Most people aren’t asking for more work to do, so you are definitely differentiating yourself with this strategy. If you are completing your regular work and then ask for other work, not only are you showing them that you are responsible but you are showing them that you are worth more too. (For more, see: Salary Secrets: What is Considered a Big Raise?)

Don’t be bashful about letting your boss know that you that you are looking for upward movement with the company. If your boss doesn’t know that you have ambitions of moving up within the company, they may not even consider you when a promotable position becomes available.

It’s Okay to Brag

If you want to position yourself to ask for a raise, you need to give your boss reason to actually give you that raise. Diligence is only half the battle - your boss needs to notice. Sometimes your supervisor or manager has a lot going on and they may get busy with their own workload and not even realize what you have accomplished. Whether you have a weekly, monthly or quarterly meeting with them, make sure to point out some of the ways that you have gone above and beyond in your duties, improved production or efficiency measures that you have implemented.

Good Attendance Is a Must

It may seem evident but if you want to ask for a raise, you need to be dependable about showing up for work. Everyone understands that sickness or a family emergency will happen every now and then but if you make it a daily habit to come to work five minutes late or a weekly habit to call off, then you aren’t showing your true worth or reliability. (For more, see: How to Put Your Pay Raise to Work.)

How to Ask for a Raise

If you do all these things and aren’t offered a raise, it’s time to ask for one. It’s not just as simple as walking up to your boss and telling them that you want more money. Here are a few things to keep in mind when asking for the raise to help the conversation go well:

Practice How to Talk to Your Boss

Don’t just walk up to your boss and ask for a raise. Plan the conversation out ahead of time. Think about your boss’ possible reaction. Make sure that you have some accomplishments to point out. Likewise, make sure that you have resolved any objections that your boss may bring up of previous job performance issues.

Company Budgets Impact Your Chances of Getting a Raise

Sometimes, companies have limited funds for departments or salaries. Your boss might like to give you a raise, but perhaps overall company performance is in a slump or maybe a wage freeze is in place. Don't take it personally if your boss is unable to give you a raise.

Be Ready to Hear “No”

Regardless of how good your job performance is or how valuable you are, your boss might still say no. Be prepared for this possibility and then ask what plan can be implemented to get you on the path to a raise or promotion. Even if your boss doesn’t think you are ready for a promotion or a raise right now, working with them to formulate a plan of action over the next several months shows them that you are serious and willing to work to earn it.

Know Your Value

A quick internet search of salary ranges within your industry or job type will let you know what you should potentially be asking for. Some websites even aggregate their data based on geographic area. Do your homework ahead of time so you know what others in similar jobs are making. Knowing the numbers gives you confidence to know that what you are asking for is realistic and it can be a great negotiating tool as well.

Navigating the path to a raise can be scary. If you are deserving of one, approach your boss professionally and be prepared for the conversation to go many ways. (For more from this author, see: How to Save for Retirement in the Gig Economy.)