The only 5 tactics that work when asking for a raise

The first time I asked for a raise, my palms were sweating, my knees were shaking, and I’m quite certain my voice cracked a few times. I didn’t prepare what I was going to say, and I am pretty sure I forgot my own name I was so nervous.

Looking back, I can laugh, but at the time, I was mortified. Not only did I not get the raise, but I couldn’t look my boss in the eye for at least three weeks.

It was then that I decided to research how to ask for a raise, and I’m proud to say that since then, I’ve gotten many raises, all because I knew what to say and how to act. Here are my quick tips on the best way to ask for a raise.

Time it right

Timing is everything. You could be the best employee in the world and double your employer’s profits, but if you ask for a raise when he’s hopping mad – you aren’t going to get it.

Instead, play on the emotions. Figure out what time of day your boss is ‘usually’ in a good mood. What time of day is he/she slower and able to talk rather than feeling hurried and frustrated?

Also, would you be writing an email to ask for a “chat” in your boss’ office? Does your boss have a really high chair, with a really low one in front of the desk?

Ask to stand!

If you’re a remote worker, would this start with an invite to a Zoom “chat”? Think about the realities of the situation along with the timing of the ask. Then think about how you’ll introduce your pitch as your boss sits staring expectantly across at you.

Nerve-racking? As an idea, yes – but only as a reality if you haven’t prepared a few words to get started. After that, it’s easy. After all, your request is justified. It’s all fair and you’ll probably gain respect for doing it.

Having said all that, don’t do it around lunchtime. That’s a time for your boss to decompress. Be smart about the timing, and you’ll work your way to getting that raise.

Rack up the praise

Just because you remember every positive comment your boss ever gave you doesn’t mean he/she will. Keep a running tab of the big ones – the ones that celebrate what you’ve done good and mention them again.

This may seem smarmy, but it isn’t really. Many people go into a situation like this with negative feelings, which spread quickly. They are essentially preparing themselves to demand a raise, based on all their merits. They feel obliged because they feel neglected. They are polite, but they ooze negativity. Avoid.

A negative mindset gets you nowhere. Nowhere good, anyway.

Show or remind your boss what you’ve done to help the company and why you deserve the raise. When you give reasons, you aren’t just saying, ‘hey, I need more money.’ You’re saying, ‘I deserve a raise because I’ve done X, Y, Z.’

When you put your request into perspective, positively framed, your boss is more likely to answer your request positively.

It is also smart to avoid being a person who believes more money is deserved for what you do now, when you could indicate a willingness to take on more responsibility, adapt the whole thing into a title promotion, or simply show your dedication to productivity and growth is about the future, not a reward for the past.

Profits beat praise, in the end.

Remember that your company is a business – numbers, percentages and dollar amounts thrown into your achievements will impress.

Know what others get paid

Do your research and find out what others in the industry get paid. Are you paid well below them? Then you know your request is within the realm of what you deserve. 

If you ask for way more than the average for your industry, you may not get what you want. Keep it reasonable while taking into consideration what you’ve done for the company. If you do the jobs of more than one person, consider that in your research too. 

Ask for a specific dollar amount

Don’t hem and haw around the topic – ask for what you want. You know what you’re worth and how much you think you deserve, so ask for it.

What’s the worst your boss can say? Okay, maybe you don’t want to hear the word ‘no,’ but it tells you where you stand. If you can’t get the raise you deserve, it may be time to rethink your life plans. 

Show what’s in it for your boss

Don’t make the raise all about you (even though it is). Show your boss the value you bring and what you’ll do when you get the raise. Show your boss the asset that you are and what he/she would be missing if you left.

Obviously, don’t say ‘if I left,’ but you can allude to it in a way that makes your boss think he/she should appease you or they may lose you.

Word that carefully.

Asking for a raise isn’t easy, but when you prepare, you’re much more likely to get it. Do your research and even do some soul-searching to think about what you’re worth truly. It may be a lot more than you’re making now, and that’s okay – but you have to ask for it. 

It may be a lot more than you’re making now, and that’s okay – but you have to ask for it.