Asking for a Raise!

Submitted by SharpMan Editorial Team on Sunday 10th October 2010
In this article
  • How to ask for a raise.
  • When to ask for a raise.
  • Tips on selling yourself and your raise.

There was a time when the hallways of all brick and mortar companies were filled with the moans of employees who believed that their new media friends were getting far richer than they deserved, far faster than anyone could believe. Today (literally, as the market could rebound tomorrow), with those stock option paychecks not looking quite as grand, your old brick and mortar job looks a whole lot better — or does it? After all, your friend’s new sports car still looks every bit as good. Sounds like it’s time to ask for a raise. Check out these SharpWork tips for getting the salary hike you deserve:

Step One: Identify the Reasons You Should Get Your Raise.

Sure, "I want a sports car too" seems like sound logic to you, but it may not fly as well with your boss. Instead, see if any of the following apply to you:

  • Your skill level has gone up measurably.
  • A recent achievement has been recognized, but not rewarded.
  • Your workload has increased substantially.
  • You’ve received a higher-salary offer from another company.
  • You’ve been around a long time without a raise.
  • Other people have recently received raises.

As you’ve probably noticed, the last two line items are very different from the first four and are likely to be far less persuasive on their own.

Step Two: Fashion Your Argument.

Once you’re clear on the reasons you should get your raise, think of examples to illustrate and support these reasons. For example, if you do the work of two people, point out that your boss hasn’t bothered to replace the bozo who used to work with you. If you’ve received recognition for achievements, make a list of those achievements and the benefits the company has enjoyed as a result. As often as possible, tie your illustrations in to the company’s bottom line.

Now consider all of the reasons you shouldn’t get that raise. Have you made any poor judgment calls (of which your boss is aware)? Too much e-mail or telephone time on your record? Have you just arrived at the company? Has your company’s financial position taken a turn for the worse? Try to match these negative points with positive counterpoints. For example, sure, you messed up that client account, but then you made amends in addition to getting more work from the same client! Yes, you’ve only been at the company for two months, but your diligent efforts have streamlined the micro-task you call your career!

Step Three: Strengthen Your Argument With Research.

Bulk up your argument with an objective yardstick. In all but the smallest companies guidelines exist to help management determine whether an employee is eligible for a raise or a promotion. Sniff around for this kind of material or ask friends who work in the human resources or hiring departments to find out whether these types of guidelines exist. Even though employee guidelines should not be kept secret from employees, they may be a bit hard to get a hold of — keep digging discreetly.

Step Four: Pick a Time to Make Your Argument.

The best time to hit your boss up for a raise is when he or she is in a good mood. Unfortunately, there are always those bosses who never seem to be in a good mood. For these Grumpelstilskins, pick a time when your boss is basking in the glow of a new client deal, a business breakthrough, or a promotion of his or her own. If your company never seems to have any of these moments, your chances for a raise may not be so hot, but try to pick a relatively good day, like a Friday afternoon after lunch.

Step Five: Make Your Argument.

Many career guides tell you to make requests for a raise by way of a written letter. However, in today’s more casual business environment, formal written letters are likely to make you look stiff. We suggest making a formal request in person. This approach can be far more effective if you’ve taken the time to plan your arguments per Steps One through Four. When making your request, make a point of keeping your reasoning positive. Refrain from whining about fairness and what others are making. Include the following information:

  • The length of time you’ve been with the company.
  • The length of time you’ve been at your position.
  • Your recent achievements and how they’ve helped the company and your division.
  • Recent recognitions of your achievements.
  • Other work (administrative, philanthropic, etc) that you’ve done for or on behalf of the company.
  • Any additional work-related classes you’ve taken (in or out of the office) to improve your value to the company.
  • The specific amount of money you believe to be a reasonable raise in your pay.
  • Other non-work reasons why you would like this raise (you’re getting engaged, married, having a child, buying a house — don’t mention the sports car) that might pull at the heartstrings of a boss who likes you. Try not to make this stuff up, and remember that these should not be the primary reasons you want the raise, just icing.

Prepare to be questioned on your reasoning. Answer your questions calmly and politely. Be friendly, but respectful. Don’t demand an answer right away — you probably won’t get one.

Step Six: Have a Back-Up for "No."

Unfortunately, not all valiant efforts are rewarded. For those times it always helps to have a back-up plan. In the event that your boss is clear about the fact that a raise is not possible, stand firm. Ask for a timeframe for re-evaluation. In addition, ask for specific improvements you can make or realistic objectives you can meet in order to be eligible for the raise.

This article last updated on Sunday 10th October 2010
As you like 'Asking for a Raise!' you may also like following Sharp Dating articles . . .

Questions that Make a Statement

Whether you’re in an interview, a meeting at work or just tossing around ideas with your boss, asking the right questions at the right time sets you apart from your peers and

Time Management 101

You're on a tight deadline for a project proposal, but arrive at work to find a pile of messages that require return calls or e-mails. A colleague carrying a mug of coffee

Presenting Your Ideas to Your Boss

You’ve worked hard and are ready to present your suggestions to the boss. Great. How’re you gonna do it? In the ideal world, management has been kept up to date on your

Looking Like a Pro on the Company Softball Team

OK guys, you've signed up to play on that Sharp company co-ed softball team and you think, "what a great way to impress that girl in advertising that I've been itching to ask

Two Months, Not Two Weeks: Setting Up Some Serious Vacation Time

So you earned a college degree, found a decent job with better-than-average benefits, and after several years are now earning a respectable salary. Heck, you may even be one

Telling Your Boss That He/She Is Wrong

It’s a fact: on the career of every SharpMan a little rain must fall. Sometimes this rain takes the form of a particularly precarious position — your boss is wrong and you’ve

An Hour a Day: Seven Time-Saving Exercise Tips for Good Health

All too often we put our own personal health too far down on the priority list. It ends up getting overlooked because we’re rushing to work, heading off to our kid’s soccer

Going Back to School — The First Step

How do you like your job these days? Is it stimulating? Satisfying? Well-paying? If any portion of your answer is somewhat nebulous or — worse — bleak, it may be time to