Each week, TopResume’s career advice expert, Amanda Augustine, answers user questions on Quora. We’ll be republishing those answers here. A certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW), Amanda has been helping professionals improve their careers for over 10 years. Have a question for Amanda? Submit it here.
Q: How do I ask my boss for a raise?
It’s been super busy lately at the workshop and I really want to ask for a raise. How do I approach my boss, Mr. Claus? — Buddy the Elf
Hi Buddy! Before you approach your boss to ask for a raise, do a little research. You shouldn’t simply walk up to your manager and declare that you deserve a raise without providing justification for the extra money. And you never want to justify your request for a competitive paycheck or a big raise with your desires to fund an extravagant vacation, upgrade your home, or start saving for your kid’s college education. Instead of talking about your wants and needs, focus on your contributions to the company and the current job market.
Research the job market.
Research the market rate for your current job on sites such as Glassdoor, Salary.com, PayScale, and Paysa, taking into account your company’s location, size, and industry.
Give yourself a performance review.
Evaluate your performance since your last raise or promotion. Have you met or exceeded your goals for the year? How has your role evolved? Have you taken on greater responsibility, bigger projects, or more prestigious clients?
Brainstorm your selling points.
In other words, how have you helped to move the needle? For instance, your work may have saved the company time or money, made operations run more smoothly, generated revenue, increased brand recognition, and so forth. What projects are you particularly proud of? If you haven’t updated your brag book in a while, now’s the time. Have this information with you when you’re ready to broach the subject with your boss.
When asking for a raise, keep the following things in mind:
Rehearse your salary request ahead of time.
Ask a trusted friend to roleplay with you. It may feel uncomfortable, but this mock conversation will make the real one go more smoothly. Anticipate your manager’s reaction and prepare your response.
Make your request face-to-face.
Don’t send your request via email or over the Slack channel. Save this conversation for a time when you can sit down with your manager and make your case face-to-face. It’s much easier to read the situation and your boss’ reaction when you can see him or her.
Take your boss’ personality into account.
If your manager prefers people who don’t beat around the bush, schedule a meeting with a clear objective: “I’d like to schedule some time with you to revisit my salary.” If your boss prefers a less direct approach, you may want to bring up the subject during your next one-on-one meeting.
Educate your manager about your role.
Update your manager on your current responsibilities and recent wins for the company. Often, managers aren’t fully aware of their employees’ workload and accomplishments. If you’ve been a successful, productive member of the team and have been taking on new responsibilities, this is the time to share that information.
Reiterate your commitment to the organization and its success.
No one wants to give a raise to someone whom they suspect will give notice in the near future. Recognize your past accomplishments, but also focus on the value you can contribute in the future.
By doing your due diligence and rehearsing the conversation you’ll have with your boss, you’re 10 times more likely to come across as professional and confident — and get the raise you’re after.
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