How to Ask for a Raise
August 15, 2022

Do you think you’re being paid appropriately for the work you perform? If I had to take a guess, the most common answer would be no. Asking about money is always an uncomfortable conversation to have, whether it is with an employer or with a friend. I completely understand that initiating a conversation regarding more money, such as an increase in pay, can be a nerve-wracking experience. However, you won’t know if you can be paid more at your job unless you ask! The perfect time to ask would be during annual evaluations, if your company has them. If not, try to choose a time of year where your employers are not overwhelmed. This article will take you through five steps to professionally ask for a raise.

1. Be prepared

This is the most important step to take. You need to come prepared to the meeting in order for it to be successful. The first question your boss will want to ask is why you think you deserve a raise (see step 2) and how much you are asking for (see step 3). Prior to the meeting, it is beneficial to determine if you are merely asking for a higher pay in your current job title, or if you are also seeking a promotion to a higher job title. The meeting should not be improvisation. Continue reading for what you should be prepared to speak about prior to the meeting.

2. Explain your accomplishments

The first key step to take in asking for a raise is to explain why you deserve to be paid more. You may think you should be paid more because you are underpaid and overworked. Although that may be true, you need to present to your boss your accomplishments and your impact on the company. What did you do to improve the company? How did you accomplish this? What were the results? Hopefully, you already have noted your accomplishments in some way, for these are also extremely beneficial to include on your resume. If not, write down as many details as you can remember, especially anything quantifiable. Once you have everything written, you can condense them into bullet points to expand on, or construct visualizations to present to your boss during the meeting. I would recommend having your top 3 accomplishments to discuss, but if you have more, be prepared to discuss them if needed. 

3. Research salaries for your position

When trying to think about how to direct this meeting, the salary you are seeking to earn is probably the part you’ve been thinking about the most. You know you want to be paid more, but how much more? In order to determine this, you will need to conduct market research to find out the average salary people are being paid for the position you hold and what companies who are hiring for your position are willing to pay the prospective hire. In addition, if you are seeking a promotion to a higher position, you will want to conduct market research for the salaries typically paid for this position. When you see the range of salaries, choose a figure on the higher end. Additionally, it is beneficial to have an idea of the lowest amount of a raise that you will accept. For example, if the higher end of the range of salaries for your position is $10,000 more than your current salary, are you willing to accept an initial increase of $5,000? You may also want to research other benefits companies are offering their employees, such as company stock equity or professional development. For example, if you see most companies are giving the people in your position significantly more paid time off than you have, this can also be something to request in addition.

4. Explain how you will continue to add value

When your boss is contemplating whether or not they should give you a raise, you should also mention to them how you will continue to improve and add value to the company. You’ve already told them how you have been positively impacting the company, but this also occurred under your current salary. By informing them how you plan to continually improve as an employee, you will further convince them that you are a valuable asset to the company who deserves to be paid more. It will instill in your boss’s mind that by paying you more it is not only benefiting you, but benefiting the company.

5. Be confident

You have to convince yourself and your boss that you deserve this raise. If you are timid and unprepared for the meeting, it will show and you will be less likely to get the raise. Note that confidence should be associated with preparedness, not rudeness or aggressiveness. You should have a strategy prepared for how you’d like the meeting to go, as well as a strategy when leaving the meeting. Prior to leaving, confidently summarize everything discussed, next steps, and when you can follow-up. As a result, there will be no miscommunication or loose ends when you leave the meeting.  

These five steps to ask for a raise will set you up for success during your meeting. It is not guaranteed that your boss will give you the desired salary that you are requesting, but proposing some alternatives can also allow you to benefit. If you feel unsatisfied at the conclusion, it is always beneficial to be job search ready if you do decide that maybe another opportunity would be better for you. BrandResumes offers a job search ready course to help you navigate the job market, which is helpful if you want a better job now or to be prepared if you want one in the future. Regardless of the outcome of the meeting, you won’t know the answer until you ask. By completing these 5 steps, you’ll have the tools you need to successfully obtain that raise!


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By Kristin Soltis

Kristin has an educational and professional background in business, which includes a Master’s degree in Accounting. She has extensive experience writing resumes and developing LinkedIn profiles as a BrandResumes Associate. Her goal is to develop articles with the most effective tips to facilitate people who want to advance their careers.

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