How to Ask for a Pay Raise

By Alyssa Laffitte on June 13, 2019

Asking your boss for a pay raise can be intimidating. This is especially true if you really need the extra money. But at the right time, and with the right preparation, you can confidently ask your boss for a raise. Here’s how to do it:

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Do your research

Before you ask your boss for a pay raise, do some research to learn what your job is worth. Look at a few job search websites to determine what other people in your field and your geographical area are being paid, and compare your salary to that. If your salaries are similar, then you are unlikely to receive the raise when you ask. However, if your salary is significantly lower than what others in a similar field, geographical area, and level of education are making, you have a strong case for why you should receive a raise. Take note of these specific numbers and pull them out when you discuss your salary with your boss. (Explaining to your boss that others in your field make 10% more than you do is much more convincing than simply asking for more money.) Doing your research can give you data that will help convince your boss to give you a raise.

Specifically, research your company’s policy on raises

Another good thing to do before you ask for a pay raise is to learn your company’s policy on pay raises. This information can be found in the company employee handbook. In some cases, the company will only give raises after an annual performance review. If that is the case for you, do not ask for a raise unless you have recently had your performance review and it returned positive. If you ask for a raise in the “off-season”, you are unlikely to get it, even if you are a fantastic employee. On the other hand, if your company does not do this, you can go ahead and ask for the raise. Figure out your company’s policy on pay raises before you ask for one.

Consider your individual situation

You should consider your unique, individual situation for ways to convince your boss to give you the raise. Specifically, you should consider things like:

  • What have you accomplished for the company recently?
  • What problems have you solved for the company?
  • Have you had any additional responsibilities delegated to you since your last pay raise?
  • How have you shown initiative lately?
  • How many extra hours have you worked without overtime pay?

If you have solved a major problem, saved the company lots of money, or have had additional responsibilities delegated to you, you have a strong case for why you should receive a pay raise. Take note of these things, and explain them to your boss when you ask them for a raise. Your individual situation might be convincing enough for them to give it to you.

Rehearse what you will say

Because asking for a raise is a nerve-wracking experience, you might forget what you wanted to say. To avoid this, rehearse what you will say. In your “speech”, include:

  • Numbers that indicate others with a similar job, in the same geographical area, with the same skill level, are being paid more; thus, you should be paid more.
  • Any recent, stellar accomplishments that indicate you deserve this raise.

These factors will help convince your boss to give you the raise.

Ask at the right time

It is crucial to ask for a raise at the right time. Just as I mentioned before, if your company only gives raises annually, don’t ask for one when it’s not the time because you will be unlikely to get it. Similarly, if you know your company is going through financial trouble and if people have been fired recently, that is not the time for you to ask for a raise. In this case, you should wait a few months (until the company recovers) to ask for a raise.

On the other hand, if things are going well for your company financially and they do not only give out annual raises, you can go ahead and ask for one. Asking for a raise at the right time can mean the difference between getting it or not!

Set up a formal meeting with your boss

Asking for a pay raise is a serious request, so you should have a serious discussion with your boss about it. When you ask your boss for a raise, it should be a distraction-free conversation. Do not casually ask them for a raise when you randomly catch them in the break room; that is not the place for a serious conversation. For this reason, you should make an appointment with your boss for this specific conversation. This will make sure they can focus only on you and your request during that window of time.

Be prepared for rejection

Unfortunately, there is always a chance your request will be rejected. You should prepare yourself for this possibility. If your pay raise request is rejected, be calm and professional. Thank your boss for his/her time, and ask if there is anything you can do to improve your job performance. Those tips might help you earn the raise next time.

Of course, these tips do not guarantee you will receive the raise. But if you follow them, you can at least ask for the raise with confidence that you have a good chance of getting it.

23, ISFJ. Biology student. College lifestyle blogger. Avid reader and writer. Dog lover. Nerd. Boyband enthusiast. Superhero in training. Here to help you become the best you can be!

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