Asking For A Pay Raise: How To Do It Better

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Asking for a pay raise is never really comfortable. Instead, it’s a delicate procedure that needs to be pulled off just right if it is to succeed. Here are 10 pro tips on how to improve your chances of getting that pay raise.

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Arrange a Meeting

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If your boss is distracted by another task when you ask for a pay raise, he may very well wave off your request with a simple “no” so he can attend to other matters. That kind of absent rejection can hurt, so it’s best to arrange a meeting.

That being said, you want to make sure the meeting is scheduled at a time when your boss is in good spirits. This can be hard to anticipate far in advance, so it’s usually best to schedule a meeting within 24 hours if it seems like the boss will be in a good mood.

Have Numbers Prepared

The most persuasive evidence for a pay raise is always numerical. Instead of “I’ve really raised sales by a lot this past year,” you should be ready with numbers like “I’ve raised sales by 45% over the past three quarters.”

The more statistics you have ready, the more likely you are to get the pay raise.

Research Salary Trends

Research the pay raise amounts received by other employees in a similar position as you because asking for an unrealistic number can blow up the whole deal. Keep in mind that an average pay raise is 4.6%.

Although you should do your research, don’t bring up the anecdotal evidence in your pay raise pitch. Arguing that you should get more just because others at your level are, seems petty and a bit invasive.

Ask After an Accomplishment

Try to time your ask for a period where you (and your boss) are still riding the high from a big score you made at work. It will boost your confidence (which is key in asking for a pay raise) and your boss’s confidence in you.

When combined with the point about scheduling a meeting, this tip usually means scheduling right after a big deadline of yours. Obviously, though, you need to make sure you meet the deadline, or you can kiss that pay raise goodbye.

Read even more about the best time to ask for a pay raise.

Be Ready to Ask for Less

Come into the meeting, assuming you won’t get your “initial asking price.” After saying no to the first pay raise you ask for, though, your boss will be more likely to say yes to something less; it’s just human psychology.

Maybe you can settle for a smaller pay raise, a new laptop or phone for work purposes, or extra vacation time.

Dress for Success

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This expression is never more accurate than when asking for a pay raise. Wearing a suit rather than a t-shirt simply looks more professional, and a boss is more likely to give a pay raise (and the added responsibility that comes with it) to a sharp-dressed employee.

It is important, though, to dress honestly. That is, don’t throw on a three-piece suit even though you usually wear shorts and sandals to work. You can and should dress up a bit more than usual, but don’t go overboard.

RELATED: 9 Principles That Will Pave Your Road to Success

Take On More Responsibility

Managers who were interviewed on this subject agree that employees need to begin working towards a pay raise long before asking for it. They should be primarily concerned with taking on more responsibility. It shows they can handle the additional work bosses expect to pile on to higher-paid employees.

Focus on Deservedness

People asking for a pay raise often talk about how life’s harsh realities necessitate that they earn more money. While this may be rooted in fact, the truth is that your boss doesn’t care. At least, not as much as they care about your contribution to the company.

Focus on why you deserve the pay raise, not why you need it.

Be Specific

Go into the meeting knowing the exact pay raise you’re going to ask for. If you request “40 to $45,000,” you will sound unconfident and unprepared, and you’ll get at most $40,000 anyway. Instead, go in and confidently say, “I need $45,000.”

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The same applies to your “backup plans.” You need to plan out precisely what you are going to ask for if you get a “no” on your initial pay raise request.


Taking all of the above tips into account, rehearse your pay raise request a few times before making it. Practice your “backup plans” too.

The most important tip for success in asking for a pay raise is obvious: be a good employee. If you do that and combine it with the tips we went over above, you’ll be making more money at your job in no time.

Have you ever asked for a pay raise? If you have any tips, let us know in the comments section below!

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