Do you think you are worth more than you are getting paid? In which case, you may be thinking about asking your boss for a raise.
If you are thinking about asking for a raise, you may feel nervous. What if your boss says that you can’t have a raise? Does that mean you are not worth the extra money? Should you start looking for a new job if you don’t get a raise?
Find Your Bootcamp Match
- Career Karma matches you with top tech bootcamps
- Access exclusive scholarships and prep courses
In this guide, we’re going to discuss when you should ask for a pay raise, how to ask for a pay increase, and what to expect when discussing a salary boost. We’ll also walk through a few examples of what you can say in your conversation with your manager when asking for a raise.
When to Ask for a Raise
Before you start preparing to ask for a raise, you should take some time to consider when is the best time to ask.
Seeking a raise is not an uncommon event. Especially as you gain more experience, you may feel like you are worth more than you are getting paid. To maximize your chances of getting the raise you want, you need to ask at the right time.
Here are a few things you should consider when deciding when to ask for a raise:
Have You Recently Worked on a Big Project?
If you have just completed a big project, it may be a good time to ask for a raise. This is because an example of you adding value to the business will be fresh in your boss’s memory. Therefore, it may be easier to convince them that you are worth more than you are being paid.
Is Your Company in Good Financial Health?
While you may feel undervalued, asking for a raise at a time when your company is in poor financial health is not a good idea. There are two reasons why this is the case.
First, if you ask for a raise during a time when people are being laid off, you may be seen as someone who is not a team player—someone who is more concerned about their growth than the business. Second, if your company is struggling financially, they are less likely to have the resources to give you a raise, even if they are impressed with your performance.
Do You Have an Annual Review Coming Up?
Annual reviews are a great occasion to bring up the topic of salary increments. In an annual review, you’ll be expected to talk openly about your job and your long-term objectives. If you feel like your salary is not in line with the value you are adding to a business, then you should make sure to bring it up in your annual review.
How to Prepare for Asking for a Raise
Asking for a raise can be anxiety-inducing. To help ease some of your anxiety and increase your chances of getting the raise you want, you should make sure that you have adequately prepared before popping the question.
Let’s break down the things you should prepare for before asking for a raise.
#1: Understand Salary Trends
If you’re going to ask for a raise, you may be worried about what number to ask for. Too small, and it may seem insignificant to your manager; too large, and it may seem like you are taking too much without delivering enough value to the business.
One way to choose a good figure is to research the salary trends for your particular job market. You can use sites like Glassdoor, Paysa, and Indeed to find out the average salaries and salary distribution ranges for professionals in your field.
These sites also allow you to filter out salaries by location, which will help you get a better sense of how much your peers are paid in your local job market.
Spend some time researching the average salary of someone working in your field. Then, consider whether this number is in line with your experience, skills, and contributions you have made on the job.
For instance, suppose you are being paid $50,000 annually. If the average salary for someone in your field is $60,000 and you only have two years of experience, you may not be ready to ask for a full increase to the average salary. Instead, you may want to aim for a number like $55,000 and be flexible on that number, because you are still relatively early in your career.
#2: Reflect on Your Value
Once you understand how much you are going to ask for, you are ready to start making your case for why you deserve that amount.
Before you approach the topic, take some time to reflect on your value. What makes you an asset to a business? What examples can you give of times where you have been an effective contributor toward the business’ goals?
Prepare a list of a few specific and recent accomplishments that you can mention in your salary discussion. Having this information in mind before the discussion begins will make you feel more confident about asking for a raise because you’ll have a clearer understanding of your worth.
#3: Prepare for Questions and Negotiation
When the topic of salary comes up, managers often ask follow-up questions. Even if you deserve the pay increase, your manager may still ask you a few questions to gain a better understanding of why you are asking for a pay increase, and why you think you deserve it.
Before you ask for a raise, make sure that you prepare for follow-up questions. Some of the common ones include:
- Can you tell me more about why you are asking for this raise?
- Could you be specific on why you chose that number?
- Are you flexible on the pay increase?
- Can you give me another example of a project on which you worked that added clear value to our organization?
There may be an element of negotiation to your discussion, too. If this occurs, then make sure that you are clear about your expectations, and do your best to reaffirm your value in as many different ways as possible.
How to Ask for a Raise
Now that you have considered why you deserve a raise and considered your value, you are ready to have a discussion with your manager. But what should you say in your conversation to improve your chances?
Here are a few tips you can use when discussing a raise:
#1: State the Purpose of Your Meeting
When you commence your salary interview, make sure that your boss is aware of what you are hoping to get out of the meeting. Are you looking for a salary increase now? Or do you just want to chat about the prospects of a pay raise in the near future?
By stating the purpose of your meeting clearly, you’ll be able to get a better sense of whether your manager is open to talking about salary increment before you start to go in-depth into why you think you deserve a raise.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
#2: Mention Specific Examples of Your Worth
When you are talking about why you deserve a raise, mention specific examples of how you have added value to the business.
Did a project you worked on lead to a 15% increase in user retention? Or have you won an Employee of the Month award for three months in a row? These types of accomplishments will help you better demonstrate that you are worth a pay increase to an employer.
Even though they may already be aware of these accomplishments, it’s important that you bring them up in the context of why they make you more valuable to the company.
#3: Express Confidence
It may feel tempting to undersell yourself in a discussion about asking for a raise. If you use terms like “I think” or “I believe”, an employer may get the impression that you are not sure of your own worth. This may make them question whether you really need a raise.
In your discussion about asking for a raise, be as confident as you can. Know your value going into the meeting, and remain strong even if you are asked follow-up questions.
#4: Prepare for a Compromise
You may have your heart set on a specific increase in your salary, but there is a chance that you will not get that number. Your employer may negotiate you down to a lower number, or mention a constraint that prevents you from seeking the salary you had in mind.
Before the interview even begins, make sure that you are prepared for a compromise. Any salary increase is a sign that an employer believes that you are worth it. If you have to compromise, ask your boss whether there is a way you can discuss a conditional future pay increase.
For instance, you could say something like, “Depending on my performance next quarter, would you be willing to discuss a further increase?”. This will allow you to defer the discussion of a higher salary boost to a later date, and so you will not have to give up entirely.
What to Do If You Don’t Get a Raise
It doesn’t matter how much time you spend preparing, there is a chance that you will not get the raise you are looking for. Maybe the company doesn’t have room in their budget or perhaps your boss doesn’t think you have enough experience yet.
If you are unsuccessful in getting a raise, then you should immediately start to think about your next steps. Talk with your manager about whether you could have another discussion at a later date. You should also ask whether there are any specific goals you should reach which will make you deserving of a higher salary.
You could also ask for more perks to be added to your existing job, in place of an immediate salary increase. For instance, you could ask to see if you could work from home a few days a week, or if you could have a title change.
Asking for a raise may feel uncomfortable, but if you think you are worth it, there is no reason why you should not consider asking for one.
Before you ask for a raise, make sure you have adequately prepared for the discussion. Research what salaries other people in your industry earn, and make a list of reasons why you think you are deserving of an increment.
Once you know what you want out of a discussion, you are ready to ask your manager to sit down and talk about salary increases. In this meeting, you should be direct, express confidence, and clearly state why you think you deserve a raise.
With the tips in this article, you should have no problem preparing to discuss a raise and asking your manager for that pay boost.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.