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If you’ve found yourself thinking, “I’ve had excellent performance reviews at work and I’ve taken on new responsibilities beyond my job description, but my salary hasn’t changed in over a year…”, it might be time to start thinking about how to get a raise.
But, how do you go about asking for a raise? While it may sound like an awkward and uncomfortable conversation to have with your boss, with just a few tips you’ll be prepped and ready to ask for that well-deserved raise in no time.
Here we’ll cover the following 5 tips for getting a raise. And, while we hope these 5 tips lead you to that raise you’ve been working towards, what happens if your boss says no? We’ll cover that too.
- Do your own research
- Consider the timing
- Make a list of wins and successes
- Get endorsements
- Be confident, but also patient
1. Do your own research
Would you buy the first car you see on the lot without having a general idea of how much it should cost? Probably not. First, you would probably research similar cars to see how much those cars cost compared to the one you’re looking to buy. Then, with all of your research, you’d be able to make an educated decision about a fair price for the car.
Like buying a new car, the first step to asking for a raise is to do your research.
Look online for external third-party data sources to get an idea of what other people who are in your industry and in a similar job role are earning. There are various websites that can help you in this search, such as: Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Salary.com. Consider looking at job postings online as well. Job postings may include a starting salary range, which can help in your understanding of what others in the industry are making.
Additionally, consider talking to other people in your field at different companies. Your peers within the industry may be able to shed some light on what they are making at their respective companies to help you gauge what you should be making in your role.
Compile the information you find in your research. This information will be valuable to you in determining the raise you want to ask for, and can be used as supporting evidence for your boss of what others are making in the same role.
2. Consider the timing
It’s important to consider the timing of when to ask for a raise. When thinking about the “right time” to ask the question, you might want to consider the following:
Annual performance reviews
Every company is different, but learn when your company typically conducts performance reviews with its employees. This would be a natural time for you to discuss a raise with your boss.
When work isn’t busy
Adding another meeting to your boss’s calendar when you both are already in the thick of work likely won’t be the best time to ask for a raise. Consider speaking with your boss when things at work are calm. Both you and your boss will be more likely to have a productive conversation when you can both think clearly about the request.
Once you’ve considered when to talk about the raise, schedule some time with your boss. Be upfront about the conversation you’re wanting to have, and what you plan to discuss in the meeting. By taking the initiative here, you’re showing your boss that you’re serious about the conversation and want to review the hard work you’ve put in over the last year.
3. Make a list of your wins and successes
It’s not always easy to recall every accomplishment at work throughout the course of a year or more. So, write it down. Keep a record of your wins and successes at work, no matter how big or small. Include relevant information about the accomplishment:
What you did
Be descriptive and detailed! You may think you’ll remember the exact details of that one time in January where you “created a big marketing campaign”, but come June, you may not remember all of the important facts. What was the campaign about, who was involved, what was unique about?
When you did it
Dates are important. Showing a timeline of the work you’ve accomplished when asking for a raise is key.
The impact or results
What did you achieve as a result of that “big marketing campaign”? Be specific here. Write down the exact results of your work and what was created. Did your work result in an increase in sales or a reduction in costs? If so, include the exact dollar amount.
Having a list of your wins at work creates a short resume for you to show your boss when you ask for the raise. Not only will you want to show this to your boss when you are discussing the raise and why you feel you’ve earned it, but your boss probably has a boss whom they will need to speak to about your raise. Your boss can then take this list to their boss or HR and show the value you’ve added.
4. Get endorsements from your colleagues
Not only is it important to make a list of your accomplishments, it’s important to get endorsements from your colleagues. Having your colleagues communicate their experience working with you, whether it be on large projects or a day-to-day basis, can speak to the value you bring to the company. Colleagues can share this feedback with your boss over the phone or via email. Hearing praise from the colleagues you work with helps corroborate the value you bring to the team and also helps validate the list of accomplishments you present to your boss.
5. Be confident, and patient with your boss
Arrive to your meeting with your boss well-prepared with your list of accomplishments. Be confident. If you’re worried about how the conversation may go, or you’re feeling awkward about having the conversation, practice it with a family member or friend.
Remember, just because you asked for a raise and your boss agreed with you, that doesn’t mean you’ll be making more money immediately. These things can take time. Your boss may have to get approval from their boss, and so on and so on. Maintaining a positive, patient attitude throughout the process is key.
What to do if your boss says no to a raise
If your boss says no, consider the following:
- Ask what steps you need to take and what specific goals you need to achieve in order to obtain the raise you want.
- Outline a plan with your boss with actionable items for the next few months, and put a meeting on your boss’s calendar for a follow up discussion. At the follow up meeting, you can revisit what you’ve accomplished in the time period discussed, how you performed, and how you’re tracking to receive that raise.
Remember, it’s important to remain polite and tactful when you discuss the next steps. Asking your boss what you can do to get to that raise, and then meeting those goals, shows your dedication and value.
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