How to Ask for a Raise

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There’s a right way—and a wrong way—to approach your boss when asking for a raise. The right way is the proven way to go; the wrong way will… well, it will likely leave you without that raise. The “right way” is based on your timing, proposal and preparation.

When Asking for a Raise, Timing is almost everything.

Timing matters—a lot. As you prepare to ask your for a raise, choose the “right” time. In some cases, the answer—yes or no—to your request for a raise can be entirely decided based on timing. Choosing the right time is based on:

  • Your performance. Be honest with yourself about your performance and the value you’re providing your company. Make sure you’re delivering value and building equity with your company.
    It is smart to time your request for a raise following a major success or accomplishment on your part, when your contributions are crystal clear to your boss and other senior-level leaders.
  • Company performance. For many years following the economic downturn in 2009, and even now to a big extent, many companies implemented a freeze across the board on raises. While the tides have turned and more companies are jumping back in the “black,” your company’s performance is a major factor in the timing of your request for a raise.
    While you may not know the exact financial state of your company, do your best to make your request at a time when you feel or believe the company can actually afford to give you a raise.
  • Fiscal/calendar years. Many companies distribute incentives and offer raises around certain key dates in their fiscal year (which varies by company, whether or not the budget is on a calendar year or on a different fiscal calendar).
    Do your best to find out how your company operates, and when it has typically given raises in the past. If there seems to be a trend or pattern, use this in determining your timing.

Make a strong proposal to which they can’t say no.

We’ve talked a lot about “How” to ask for a raise, but this section covers the “why” you are deserving of a raise, and the burden of “proof” is all on you. When making your case for a raise, base it on:

  • The value you provide the company. Asking for a raise is a lot easier when you can show what you bring to your company. Why are you an indispensable asset to the company? Build your case for a raise on this.
  • What you’ve done to earn an increase. Note recent successes and achievements. Make these about the company—how you delivered X that resulted in Y increase in sales and Z new customers. Show a trend of improvement and accomplishment to make the case for your raise.

Because you know your company, your boss and your situation better than anyone else, there may be a few other reasons “why” to factor in. Evaluate your current position and your company’s current situation, if possible try to project the future of the company and include any key findings or notable items in your proposal.

If you’re asking your boss for a raise, the presentation matters.

Once you’ve chosen the right time and developed a solid proposal, it all comes down to the presentation. Take time to properly prepare before asking your boss for a raise.
Tips for making the best presentation include:

    >Practice. Go through your presentation ahead of time. Walk through your key points and practice asking the “big” question. Remember to speak slowly, clearly and confidently.
    Also use your practice time to anticipate potential questions and comments from your boss, and come up with answers and responses to those, so you’re ready for anything that might come your way.
  • Schedule a time with your boss. This ensures you have time carved out to speak with your boss, rather than having to guess when he or she is available.
  • Have a number in mind. Just as you develop answers and responses to potential questions and comments from your boss, have the dollar figure in mind that you would like to see your pay increased to, and a date by which you would like to see this raise in effect. Include this in your presentation as part of your “ask.”

Additional Financial Resources

Even if you land that big raise, you still need to keep your house in order with proper budgeting and financial planning. Check back with the Check City Blog for more financial tips and tricks, updated daily. We also offer many financial services at our Check City locations, including tax services and bill pay.

What happened the last time you asked your boss for a raise? Let us know in the comment section below!

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