How to Ask for A Raise: 8 Actionable Tips

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Recent studies show that a large percentage of today’s workforce doesn’t know how much money they should be earning. 

Do you believe you should be earning more than what you’re paid? Are others that perform your same job earning more than you? If so, you may want to use these actionable tips on how to ask for a raise. 

Effective Tips on How to Ask for a Raise

Many of us are working hard to learn how to fight inflation. And most bosses don’t simply hand out raises unless it’s review time. 

Therefore, it’s up to you to go and ask for what you want. However, asking for a raise can be risky. 

Done incorrectly, you could create tension at work. That being said, asking for a raise the right way can be a great way to put more cash in your pocket. 

In addition, having a higher salary because of that raise can impact your retirement and other savings dramatically over the long term provided you designate the right budget percentages to savings. 

Follow the tips suggested here on how to ask for a raise in a way that helps ensure you’ll get it.

1. Learn the Market Value of Your Job

Learning the fair market value of your job is an important piece of knowing when and how to ask for a raise.

Some of the best job search sites like Glassdoor and Indeed have salary estimation tools. These tools give you researched numbers for what other companies around the nation are paying people that perform your job.

Using job search sites can help show what the salary range is for your job title. 

Another way to learn the market value of your job is to talk with recruiters. Reach out to recruiters that work in your industry, and ask them what salary range you could expect if you change companies. 

Since recruiters like forming relationships with potential prospects, they’ll likely be happy to share that information with you. 

And when you have an idea of what others performing your job are getting paid, you’re setting the stage for a better case when asking for a raise.

2. Understand Your Value to the Company

Another tip that helps when you ask for a raise is to know your value to your company. 

A few questions to ask are:

  • How many other people in your company do your job?
  • How oversaturated or undersaturated is the market with people who do your job? 
  • Is there more supply than demand for your job position? Or vice versa?
  • How much value do you bring to your company on a daily basis?
  • Are you the type of worker that does the minimum that’s required of them? Or are you the type of worker that always lends an extra hand? 
  • Do you willingly take on extra tasks even if they aren’t technically a part of your job description?

The more added value you bring to your company each day, the more likely your boss will be willing to give you a raise if you ask for one. 

3. Be Prepared to Explain Why You Deserve a Raise

If you’re asking for a raise outside of review time, it’s smart to have a short, written list of why you deserve a raise. 

Don’t take up too much of your boss’ time selling yourself in this area. If you have a hands-on boss, they already know what type of value you bring to the company. 

Instead, make it short and sweet. Be prepared to explain why you deserve your raise. Point out things you’ve done that make you valuable to the company.

At the same time, work hard to come off humble and to not use a threatening tone. Just be honest.

Then make it quick and be direct. Your boss will likely appreciate your sensitivity to their schedule and the courage it takes to ask for a raise. 

4. Learn Your Company’s Raise Cycles

When it comes to asking for a raise it can be helpful to know your company’s raise cycles. Have an idea of when your company typically hands out raises. 

Do they hand them out every year at the same time? Conversely, do employees get raises on the anniversary of when they started the job?

Know what the raise schedule is for your company. Then, ask for your raise two or three months before raises are handed out. 

Another option is to ask for your raise at the halfway point between annual pay raises. Doing so is a good way to get a raise that goes over and above your annual raise. 

You’re making it clear to your employer that you know that annual raises are handed out, but that you want an additional bump in pay. 

5. Know When the Right Time to Ask Is

Knowing when the right time to ask for a raise is crucial as well. As discussed above, asking during the right time of year is important. 

That being said, asking during the right time of the day or week is important as well. You’ll want to avoid asking during critical times such as:

  • When your boss is stressed or in the middle of a big project
  • Right away on a Monday or on the day before a long weekend/vacation
  • In the days right performance review time

The goal is to not add more stress to your boss’ plate. Don’t ask when your boss is smack in the middle of a big project or a personal or business crisis. 

Don’t ask when they’re about to go on vacation so that they spend their time off being worried that you’re going to jump ship. 

And don’t ask a day or two before your annual review. Doing so means they may have to do all of the review paperwork they’ve just finished all over again. 

Instead, ask in the late morning when the day has launched but they’re still feeling energized. 

6. Learn How to Ask for a Raise

Knowing how to ask for a raise is important as well. You’ll want to be sure to get your point across without taking up too much of your boss’ time. 

Also, be sure to compliment and thank your boss for their support, and share what you love about the company as well. Keep these three tips in mind:

  • Make it short and sweet
  • Point out your gratitude for specific things you love about the company/manager
  • Be kind but direct

Here’s an example of what you might want to say:

“_______________ (insert boss’ name here), I’m wondering if I could talk to you about getting a raise. I’m an above-averageabove average employee. I always do what’s asked of me and more. I show up every day, on time and I stay late when needed. And I’ve done some research and learned that I’m being paid in the lowest 25th percentile for my job description.I love working here and I really appreciate your support and leadership, but I think I’m worth a higher salary. Would you consider giving me a raise?”

7. Don’t Throw Out a Number Right Away

Another tip: Don’t necessarily throw out a number right away. First, wait and see if your boss throws out a number. 

Or, after you’ve given your pitch, ask them how large of a raise they’d consider giving you. Leave the ball in their court first. Ask what he/she would see as a fair number.

You never know; they might give you a bigger raise than you expected. Conversely, have a number in mind before you make the request. 

That way you’ll have an answer to give if your boss throws the ball back in your court. Hint: Make the number a bit larger than what you’d like to get so that there’s room for negotiation.

Bonus hint: It’s usually best not to ask for more than a 10% raise unless you’re severely underpaid. 

8. Know What You’ll Say if the Answer is “No”

Along with following the tips above, it’s equally important to have a plan as to what you’ll do if the answer to your request is “no.”

In the event that your raise request is denied, it’s important to ask why. Maybe it’s just a timing issue. Use words like ‘Wouldwould you be willing to provide feedback as to why you feel a raise is not an option at this point?’

Or maybe your boss has important tips they can share regarding improving your job performance. Or maybe the company can’t afford to give you a raise.

Once you know why the request is denied you can better formulate a plan to respond. It may be best not to respond in the moment when emotions are high. 

Instead, give yourself a day or two to process the response. Then make some decisions. Is this raise request a dealbreaker for you? Will you be leaving the company?

Conversely, is your boss’ response valid? And is there the possibility of getting that raise in the near future? It’s okay to ask questions. 

And it’s okay to consider switching companies if your request is unjustly denied. Just be sure you think the situation entirely through before making a decision to leave your company.

In addition, if you do leave, always leave on a good note. A former boss once told me “Never burn bridges in the business world; you never know when you’ll need to cross them again.”

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to ask for a raise is important. When you act as your own best advocate you can substantially increase your earnings.  

And more income means more opportunities to pay off debt, reach financial freedom or reach whatever other financial goals you may desire.