Five Tips When Approaching Your Boss About a Raise

It’s sweaty palm time: you’re going to ask your boss for a raise.  Today I’ll offer five tips to help you put your best foot forward.

#1.  Understand your worth in the marketplace.  Any number of websites can give you an idea of what your job’s likely to earn in your community at your size organization. and are a couple resources, but also seek out recruiters and staffing companies for their input on what jobs like yours are earning in your area.

Talk with your co-workers and with former co-workers who do your job.  The game plan is to know what’s typical so you are well-informed and prepared when sitting down with your boss.

#2.   Show why you deserve a raise.  Make a list of your recent and past achievements. Ideally, support them with numbers just like you’d quantify your achievements on a resume.

Maybe you’ve taken on additional duties. Remember, your goal here is to demonstrate bang for their buck. Show them how you’ve added value to the organization.

#3.   Timing is important:  strike while the iron’s hot. Did you just finish a big project or have some sort of achievement? Chances are better for getting a raise when your achievement is fresh in everyone’s mind.

Schedule a time for your meeting with the boss so no one will be rushed. Stay away from Mondays. Be mindful of your manager’s stressful times. For example, don’t try to meet your boss in finance when the payroll deadline looms.

Keep in mind the company’s typical timeframe for giving raises, if they have one.  You’d ideally want your request to coincide with their typical salary bumps.

#4.   Avoid coming across as needy. The fact you need a raise to meet your financial obligations isn’t the employer’s concern and does not justify a raise. Your argument for a raise must be based on the value you add to the organization, not your inability to manage your finances.

#5.   No employer wants to face an ultimatum. Your threats to quit or to accept another company’s existing offer might help you get more money today, but you may be let go once your employer finds your replacement.

Think about it. Threatening to leave creates an disruption for your boss and the department. The boss might throw money your way to stop a sudden inconvenience, but only long enough to buy them time to find a suitable replacement in their timeframe, not the timeframe you’d just pushed on them.

Do your best to be confident, non-confrontational and prepared. I hope these tips have given you some confidence as you make your case. Their answer could still end up being “no,” but if you don’t ask, you may never get that raise you deserve.  Good luck!