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Write your resume like a pro.

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How to Ask for a Raise

Asking for a raise is one of the most awkward and intimidating conversations you can have.

Most people don’t like talking about money to begin with, let alone the prospect of asking your boss for more of it! Navigating through a personal issue like this and learning how to ask for a raise might be the last thing you want to do - but if you feel underpaid, then read on.

The trick to asking for a raise and getting it is all about timing and preparedness. [TWEET] Before you go storming into your boss’ office demanding a bump, cool down and read this first — you just might change your mind.

Timing is Everything

Your timing has to be impeccable, there’s no question about it. Studies show the best time to ask for a raise is January, June, or July according to LinkedIn- but you’ll want to be prepared and ask a few weeks before then. Best to time it with your Company’s year end, before budgets are allocated. Timing also applies to the right time such as when revenues are high, objectives are met, and your own performance is noteworthy. Be reasonable - if the company is tanking, should you be asking for a reward?

Prepare to Back it Up

If you’re scanning this article, looking for the the one piece of advice you can’t skimp on, it’s this: be prepared. Preparedness sets you apart. Be ready to justify your value in terms your boss values (hint: bottom line and key strategic imperatives). You’ll need to showcase your merit in real life examples that underscore why what you do matters; why you’re an asset. You’ll want to paint the picture that you and your contributions are essential. Be sure to know your market value and have a clear understanding of what your job is worth on the job market. There are plenty of online surveys to help but use caution! Many online surveys, especially those associated with staffing agencies bump up salary ranges by at least 10%. Check out PayScale or salary.com but use your caution. Again, when determining how to ask for a raise, be reasonable.

Be Clear on your “Why”

Like most things in life, being clear on your purpose and motivation will steer you clear of disaster. The same goes for learning how to ask for a raise. Think about it: why do you really want a raise? It’s really easy to get caught up in the comparison ring. You hear so-and-so makes X per year. You read an online salary report that screamed how underpaid you are. Your co-workers are talking about salaries the lunchroom. E-a-s-y. Now, slow down. This is where your preparedness comes into play. You do not — I repeat, you do not want to ask for a raise out of emotion. Will more money solve your problem or are you actually undervalued? A higher salary won’t make an insufferable job suddenly great. A raise won’t make your boss appreciate you. Know the why.

Accept the Risk

If you’ve plotted out the perfect timing and you’ve thought everything through, here’s one more thing to consider. Whether it’s the right thing to do or not, your boss may take issue with you asking for more money. Because we’re dealing with fickle, dynamic humans who have their own personal beliefs, values, and hang-up’s about money, realize that your boss may bring his/her baggage into your salary discussions. Again, it might not be right, but it’s real. Going back to understanding your personal motivations, you’ll need be comfortable with the fact that your boss may interpret your motivations for themselves and pass judgement. If your boss feels cornered to give in, they might say yes today but hold it against you in the future. Accept the risk that the discussion may open you up to more risk than before. If you feel that you truly have done your research and you deserve it - then ask away. Don’t let someone else’s hang-up’s hold you back.

The Alternative

You don’t have to ask for a raise. You don’t have to make more money. Perhaps the unpopular answer to ‘How to ask for a raise’ but it’s a realistic, intrinsic solution. Shift your energy to adding value and doing your best work. If the company just isn’t doing well enough to warrant salary increases or if you did your research and you just can’t justify asking, then decide to be happy with what you’ve got or start the search for a new opportunity. If the company offers exciting work, a fun culture, and opportunities to contribute and learn - then seize the day! You could even shift the conversation with your boss from “I want more money” to “I want more responsibility” and see what opens up for you when you focus on others.

Salary discussions trigger deep beliefs within all of us about worth, quality of life, and overall success. Don’t let it be a nagging comparison. Shifting your perspective to a growth mindset where you focus on learning and contributing will direct positive experiences your way. The money will come if you put love into your work.

Let TopResume help you write the next chapter of your career. Here’s how.

Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!

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Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!