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Cash being given to someone asking for a raise.

Time for a Pay Raise? 6 Tips on How to Ask for a Pay Raise

Talking about money is a social taboo for society, and to the average person, it can feel awkward to approach someone asking for more money.

People feel like it’s greedy to ask for a raise, but the truth is that there’s often no harm in asking if you go about it with tact and humility.

So how do you go about convincing your boss that you’re valuable enough to the company to warrant a pay raise? What happens if they say no?

  1. Track your performance record
  2. Show your value
  3. Sell your future value
  4. Think about your boss’s perspective
  5. Book ahead
  6. Practice with a friend

Many factors determine when, how, and even whether you should ask for a salary increase. But it’s important to remember that your boss won’t see the dreaded “Ask” as greedy or selfish as long as you frame it correctly.

Track Your Performance Record

You first need to ask yourself, “Why do I deserve a raise?” Start forming a comprehensive answer that encapsulates everything you’ve done for the company, how well you’ve developed in your work, and how good you are at what you do.

This first step is more reflective than how you might say it to your boss, but if you truly believe you deserve a pay raise and can convince yourself of that, you'll be a lot more convincing to your boss.

If you actively think about, prepare for, and keep track of how you've grown in the company. It will show in your communication.

Show Your Value

Once you’ve psyched yourself up about how much you’ve improved at your job, get some numbers. To put it simply, numbers talk, and bosses love the language of numbers.

If you can actively show the value of having someone stable, committed, and resourceful in your position, then your boss is much more likely to see the merit in giving you a pay raise. Bring all those incredible, boring numbers and sell your worth to the company.

How much have you increased sales? How much productive work do you pump out in a day? Have you contributed to any large projects? Is there a trend of positive feedback on your work?

Most of these questions have a paper trail that you can and should bring to your meeting to demonstrate your value to the company.

In addition, the preparation will show your boss that you’ve actively considered asking for a raise and have done a reasonable self-assessment to justify the “Ask.”

Sell Your Future Worth

It’s not just enough to say, “Here, look at everything I’ve done for this company.” You must also consider potential career growth as part of your sales pitch. Is there a position you’d like to be in or a role you believe you could fill?

Talk to your boss about how committed you are to the long-term health and productivity of the company.

A forward-looking focus tells your boss that you’re in it for the long run and are willing to commit to giving this job your attention and effort in the future.

It tells your boss, perhaps most importantly, that you're a good investment that's worth keeping.

Suppose they can retain an employee committed to the company’s long-term profitability. In that case, the raise will quickly yield a return on investment in terms of value for the company.

Think about Your Boss’s Perspective

This is a reflective step to ensure that you don’t blunder into any pitfalls during the big “Ask.” What do they gain by giving you a raise?

As sincere as your reasoning may be, you’ll likely lose your boss’s interest if you insert personal struggles into your pitch. 

Regardless of how kind your boss is, they’re probably not interested in your personal life. Consider how you would feel about incurring additional expenses.

If you’re actively choosing to spend more money on something, it’s got to be worth it. There’s always a correlation between how much money you spend and how valuable your spending is.

The same is true for your boss. Their loyalty lies with the company, and you need to sell yourself as a worthwhile investment for the company.

Book Ahead

Always ensure that when you’re ready to give the “Ask,” you have your boss’s full attention. Catching them at the end of a long workday or between meetings is never ideal.

Having divided attention runs the risk of dismissal before you’ve even laid out your case. You want to ensure you have the time to demonstrate that you’ve actively considered why you’re worth the raise and investment.

Practice with a Friend

Words can be tricky sometimes. Despite our best intentions, the meaning of our message is lost, and we communicate something incorrect or easily misunderstood.

Having a friend listen to your question and provide feedback is an excellent way to iron out any inconsistencies and solidify your points. Consider and anticipate your boss's counterarguments.

Have your friend point out or clarify any errors in your grand speech. So, you'll show your boss that you're even more ready for the real thing and can answer any questions or concerns he or she might have.

Being 100% prepared is never an option; some bosses can be hard on their employees. Often, it comes with the territory, but practicing with a friend can help get out those pre-Ask jitters and get you focused on the task at hand.

Other Tips to Follow and Blunders to Avoid

Always make sure you conduct yourself with confidence and self-assurance. Use simple yet precise language to sell yourself! Use the numbers and data you’ve collected to tout your achievements with the company. Now isn’t the time to be modest.

At the same time, you should never take credit for ideas that aren’t yours or achievements you aren’t responsible for. Think about the timing of your raise, too.

Is the company in a slouch right now? Have there been some recent layoffs? It might be better to bide your time and wait for a more opportune moment.

If you’re trying to promote yourself as a long-term investment for the company, it’s not wise to appear to be pouncing on a raise opportunity while the company is struggling or has been set back.

Should they say no, have a realistic number for the salary increase you want based on your merit and have a counteroffer on hand.

In the meantime, consider installment loans as an option to tide you over until you get that raise. Be sensible with your finances and plan to meet your needs.

Getting a raise isn’t guaranteed, but being honest, forthright, and prepared in your meeting with your boss is a great way to get them on your side and see the value you bring to the company.

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