I negotiated a raise during the pandemic – Here’s what I said to get it

It seems like all we hear about is negativity during the pandemic. Furloughs and layoffs. Hiring freezes. Required unpaid time off. While these things are happening, it also doesn’t tell the whole story. 

Some people are getting raises. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for a raise, even now. A pandemic can be the perfect opportunity to separate yourself from your coworkers by doubling-down on your work and focusing on building your career while others are distracted and unfocused. 

How can you gracefully ask for a raise during the pandemic?

Here is how. 

Step 1: Acknowledge the pandemic. Don’t approach the conversation as you would have last year, before the pandemic. Instead, address the elephant in the room. 

Career coach David Ginchansky recommends leading with something like this: “I know it’s not a conversation to have right now, but here’s what I’ve accomplished so far.” 

There is no need to dwell on the pandemic. A simple acknowledgement is all that’s necessary. 

Step 2: Focus your pitch on accomplishments. Keep the negotiations focused on what you’ve accomplished during the pandemic. How have you excelled in your position even during the turmoil of COVID-19? Did you figure out a way to save the company money? Maybe you led a remote project that delivered a big victory for your employer? 

For example, “In the past six months, I delivered Project X that saved the company thousands of dollars with new efficiencies. I also secured two clients worth a combined $1.5 million in revenue for the company and scored exceptionally well on multiple customer evaluations, all while working remotely.” 

Step 3: Show salary data. Strengthen your argument with data that shows average salaries higher than what you’re making. “Doing your research before asking for a raise at work is extremely important. When your boss asks why you should receive a raise, you don’t want to just answer by saying ‘because I want to move to a bigger apartment’,” wrote Meredith Lepore

Along with your accomplishments, be prepared with comparable salary data that indicates that you deserve higher compensation. A couple of tools available online that you can use include Robert Half’s 2020 Salary Guides and SoFi’s Get That Raise tool.

Also, remember that depending on your company’s work-from-home policies, you might need to make your pitch for a raise over a video conference rather than in-person.

To do this, choose a quiet room with good lighting and professional background. That’s right, your Metallica poster is probably not the best visual to display on your wall behind you when you’re asking for more money. 

Choose a time when you’re not distracted (ie: kids are in school, your spouse is gone, etc). Make the negotiation your one and only priority for that day.

In conclusion, don’t let the pandemic keep you from asking for a raise. If you deserve a boost in compensation due to your accomplishments, then it’s reasonable to address this topic with your manager. Be professional and focus your pitch on your achievements. 

Good luck!