Being nervous is one thing that usually accompanies asking your employer for a raise – confidence should be another. After all, if you don’t feel confident about deserving a raise, your boss won’t feel confident about giving you one either. So, put your nerves aside and read our tips on how and when to ask for a salary increase.

How to Ask for a Raise

Keep in mind every company is different. Find out if you’re entitled to a raise. That said, raises for professional positions typically occur annually. It may start somewhere between 6 and 24 months after being hired. So, with that out of the way, let’s move on. First, never walk into a meeting unprepared. Rehearse and prepare some remarks that support your request. Think about (and write out) the reasons why you deserve a raise. Discuss your responsibilities and how they contribute to the company and/or your specific department. Also, it’s important to request a time to speak with your boss. You want to make sure he or she has ample time set aside to discuss the matter.

When to Ask

First, determine your company’s review policy – if there is one. Planning to ask for a raise around the same time your company conducts performance reviews is a good start.  If possible, try to align your request with the company’s financial trajectory as well. Secondly, it’s always a good idea to request a raise just after a big win or a major accomplishment you were a part of. Capitalize on the momentum of this success. This puts you in an ideal position to ask for a salary increase.

When Not to Ask

  • Don’t ask for a raise during a high-stress time.

High-stress times are never a good time to ask for anything, let alone a raise. So, when asking, be sure it’s not the busiest time of the year when your boss is less likely to want or have the time to speak about this.

  •  Request In-Person. Not Via e-mail.

While it’s perfectly acceptable to make a meeting request via e-mail, never bring up the topic or allude to it within the email. This is something you need to do in person. It shows you’re serious, and it also affords you the ability to gauge the reaction of whoever it is you’re asking.

  • Don’t Give Ultimatums.

Never give a timeline on when you want a raise. This comes off as too demanding, and unless you’re willing to lose the job, this is something to be extra careful about. Surely, it would be best if you were confident and assertive in your request, but be aware of your tone when asking. As always, you should practice patience, professionalism, and understanding.

  • Avoid Salary Comparisons.

Avoid bringing this topic up into your discussion. Even if you know a colleague earns more money than you, and you’re convinced you deserve a salary equal—or higher than theirs, we advise you not to mention it. It’s not professional, and what you think other people earn may be inaccurate information. Instead, focus on your own merits. Stick to your own experience and accomplishments. Your value and your accomplishments should be the main focus of why you deserve a raise.

If You Don’t Get the Raise

First, stay calm. Every situation is different. Don’t feel you need to look for another job. Ask why your request for a raise was denied. There could be a logical and reasonable explanation for it. Regardless of the reason, bring the conversation back to your work and stay motivated—request for routine check-ins and re-visit the matter later.

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