Lots of people are nervous about requesting a salary increase. This often delays them and sometimes even prevents them from ever asking. But it’s a normal part of working any job for several years. Even if they deny the request, no reasonable manager or boss holds it against a valued employee who’s been around for a while if they periodically seek more money.
When you decide it’s time, use the following tips for asking for a raise to help it go smoothly and boost the chances of getting what you want. By taking a professional approach and making a strong case for yourself, you maximize your chances.
How to Improve Your Chances When Asking for a Raise
- Wait a year after receiving a raise before asking for another one. It’s usually unrealistic to expect multiple salary increases in a 12-month period. When you do ask, mention how long it’s been since your last pay raise.
- Pay attention to timing. For example, don’t approach your manager when she’s obviously stressed or rushed, or right after your company loses a big client. If you can, ask after you’ve gotten praise from a few customers or management, finished a significant project, brought in new business, or otherwise had some positive attention.
- Figure out your employer’s raise cycle. Do they give them at a certain time of year? On the anniversary of an employee’s start date? During annual performance reviews?
- Investigate your employer’s salary structure and raise practices. Many have standard raise amounts (say, 5 or 10 percent). It’s helpful if your request is in line with your company’s regular practices.
- Research market rates for your role in your geographical area (check out tools like Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth calculator). Be realistic—especially if you find your pay is high for your job in your location. If you’re underpaid, bring it up tactfully. Take what you find online with a grain of salt, though, as not all reporting is accurate, and job titles can mean different things to different employers and on different websites.
- If you’re set on a specific salary number, it’s fine to quote it when you make your request, but don’t feel obligated to offer a number upfront. But be prepared for your manager to ask what you’re looking for.
- Briefly address any extra responsibilities you’ve taken on since your compensation was last set. If applicable, point to times when you were asked you to expand your role.
- Talk about your major accomplishments and why you’re an asset to the company. Use specific examples as much as possible.
- Talk positively and enthusiastically about your future with the company, such as how you’re looking forward to continuing to grow with it and contribute to its success.
- Don’t explain your personal financial reasons for needing a raise (e.g., that your rent just went up or your kid’s going off to college soon); stick to business.
- Be receptive to feedback and constructive criticism if it comes; don’t get defensive. You want to show that you’re eager to improve your performance, whether with a raise now or to get one in the future.
- Don’t say you’re going to quit if you don’t get more money, or make any other threats.
- Use these interview body language tips to convey confidence, competence, and professionalism during the conversation. Dress a little more formally the day you’re asking for a raise, too.
- Remember that your manager may have to get approval from above, or she may need to crunch some numbers and give your request some thought. You don’t always get an answer on the spot, so allow a reasonable amount of time before following up.
- Be gracious and thank your manager for her time at the end of the meeting, regardless of whether you got a yes, a compromise, an “I’ll get back to you,” or a no.
- If your request for a raise is denied, ask what your manager believes would help you get a raise in the future. Keep it professional; don’t get resentful or defensive.