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Money is a very stressful topic for everyone, especially when bringing up a raise in salary with your boss. The main problem with asking for a raise is that there are few ways it could go right and many ways it can end badly.

To avoid making any mistake when asking your employer for a raise, follow these tips.

Do Your Research

This is a very important first step. You have to arm yourself with facts before you walk into your boss’s office. This not only provides you supporting evidence to your request, which your boss will be more responsive to, but it also provides insight as to whether or not this is the appropriate time to ask.

First, you need to know how your company is doing financially. Is your company meeting their financial goals? If the answer to this is no and your employer is leaning toward budget cuts and potential layoffs, then the time to ask for a raise is definitely not now.

If your company is reaching their financial goals, then it’s a good time to move on to your next piece of research: are you worth a raise? Look up salary surveys in your area for your industry to see what the average base salary is for someone in your position. You can even request one from our website.

Finally, you want to know your worth in the eyes of your employer. If you are considered indispensable, you’ll have a pretty strong case. Back up your request with your achievements. These achievements should be company related, such as an amount of money you brought in through sales, money you may have saved the company through increased productivity and resourcefulness, or praise from clients and co-workers backing up the hard work you do.

Is it the Best Time?

Don’t make the request at a time when your work performance can be perceived at a low. Make sure you make this request when you have been performing at your best or even exceeding expectations. You should also avoid asking when your boss has too much on their plate. If your manager is already stressed, your request will come across more like an added headache. Just like when you bring up news to someone, you want to make sure they are in a good place in their life to hear it.

Phrasing your Request

Bringing up the subject of a pay raise is the trickier part and can seem very intimidating. Make sure you are confident and relaxed when you ask. Phrase your request carefully, using the information you gained about the company’s current financial status and how well your last performance review was.

Whatever you do, don’t do the following:

  • Complain or whine
  • Bring up the last time you received a raise or that you are overloaded with tasks
  • Mention your personal life and why you need the extra money
  • Act entitled to a raise or resentful that you aren’t making as much as you deserve
  • Use a counteroffer if you’re not prepared to leave
  • Compare yourself to a coworker or past coworker

The above will not only ruin your chances of receiving a raise, but it will burn the professional relationship you have with your manager.

Prepare for “No”

Sometimes even when you have excellent supporting evidence and good timing, the answer may be no. If this is the case, you should be prepared to ask why. Ask your manager what needs to change in order for the answer to be “yes.” Make sure you are being polite when asking this and be sure to get clear feedback. You can also ask to revisit the conversation in six months.


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