Here's how to ask for a raise.
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 with career accomplishments in a while, now's the time. Have this information with you when you're ready to broach the subject with your boss.
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, help you anticipate your manager's reaction, and allow you to prepare your response.
Make your request face-to-face or via video call
Don't send your request via email or over the Slack channel. Instead, 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 them.
However, now that most of us are working from home, talking to your manager or boss in-person is not on the table. Instead, set up a phone call or a Zoom call, Google Meet, or other type of virtual call so you can explain your reasoning. If you want to see your boss' reaction, then set up a video call. Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you can't plead your case.
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.
Does your resume reflect your value? Our professional resume writers can help.
This article was updated in December 2020 by Danielle Elmers.