How Not to Ask for a Raise & the Best Way to Go About It

Here are some tips on what you should do and not do when the time comes to ask for your money.

21 Jan 2021
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≈4 minutes
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It’s a new year, and you would like to be making more money. But there is a right way and a wrong way to ask for a raise or even a promotion. Below are some tips on what you should do and not do when the time comes to ask for more money.

Don’t ask too soon or too late

If you started a job two months ago, it is way too soon to ask for a raise. Generally, you should be there six months to a year before requesting a raise, and in many businesses, wait a year at least. That depends on the individual company, though — some firms have specific performance plans where employees get raises at set times. Get a sense of the lay of the land of your organization before proceeding.

On the other hand, you don’t want to wait too long to ask for a raise. If you have worked at a job for two to three years or even more and have not received a raise, it is long past time to ask for one, especially given that the increasing cost of living has lowered the spending power of your salary during that time.

You could also ask for a raise when your job responsibilities significantly change or increase, like when you get a promotion.

Do your homework

There are a couple of figures you should have at hand when you ask for a raise. The first is the average salary for your position in your industry. Having a framework for what to ask for provides a number to management when negotiating for more money.
The second is a variety of figures showing how much you are worth to the company’s bottom line. If you can do so, show how much your ideas and hard work have increased sales or productivity, reduced costs, or brought new business. Or come up with some tangible ways of showing why you deserve a raise. That will make a better impression than asking for a raise just because you want one. Instead, show why you deserve one.

Don’t ask for too much or too little

Think of a reasonable amount in your mind for a raise. You don’t want to ask for too high a raise — you will annoy your boss. But you don’t want to ask for too little, either, and sell yourself short. Exactly how much you should ask for depends on your situation and your company’s policies. Also, consider waiting for your employer to give a figure for your raise first for you to make a counteroffer. For all you know, they may plan to present you with a more significant raise than you might have initially expected!

Don’t ask for a raise because of personal issues

Don’t ask for a raise because you are in debt, getting married, buying a home, and need more money. Frankly, your personal life is not your boss’s concern. If you merit a raise, it will be because you are a valued employee who is contributing to the job; not because you would like money for a down payment or to get out of debt.

Don’t get upset at your boss if you don’t get a raise

It would surprise you to hear how many people lose their temper with their managers if they don’t get the raise they wanted, as if yelling at the boss will get them to agree. So no matter what the outcome, act like a professional. If your boss doesn’t give you a raise, it could mean a variety of things. Maybe your company does not have money to do so or you need to work harder. Or maybe your office doesn’t appreciate you and you need to get a new job. At any rate, be a grownup, no matter what the outcome.

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