Most people would prefer to go the length of their careers without having to ask for a raise. A difficult subject to broach, asking for a raise can be uncomfortable for both employee and employer.
Sometimes, however, asking for a raise just needs to be done. To ensure your next request for a salary increase goes well, consider the following tips.
• Do your homework. Before going in and asking for a raise, do some digging and determine how much someone who does what you do with your experience level typically makes. A great, and free, way to do this is by visiting a Web site such as Salary.com, which provides basic information regarding the national average salaries for your job. In addition, the site takes into account where you live, and provides the average for a given profession depending on the city. For example, salaries tend to be higher in larger cities such as New York and Los Angeles because the cost of living in those cities is higher than most other places.
• Be realistic. Your background research should give you a good idea of what you should or shouldn’t ask for. Don’t throw caution to the wind and ask for the moon. Chances are, you’ll not only be denied the moon, but you’ll be denied a raise as well. Keep your salary increase request reasonable.
• Be flexible. Particularly if you work for a smaller company, a request for an increase in salary might not be something the company can do. If you don’t get all of what you’re asking for, that’s no reason to offer your two weeks’ notice on the spot. Instead, be flexible and ask if other perks would be acceptable, such as possibly working from home (be it full- or part-time) or getting extra vacation time. If your work is appreciated but the company just cannot afford to give you a significant raise, they could very well offer more perks as a token of their appreciation.
• Don’t let your work speak for itself. Assuming your work will speak for itself is a recipe for being denied a raise. If your work truly did speak for itself, you’d probably be offered a raise, as opposed to having to ask for one. When requesting a higher salary, have a detailed demonstration ready to show just why you deserve a raise. Include accolades, any added responsibilities since your last review and all other information that’s led you to feel you deserve a raise.
• Make your request formal. While you shouldn’t need to request a raise in writing, you do want the process to be formal. Schedule an appointment with your boss as opposed to asking in the corridor, elevator or lunchroom. You don’t want to blindside your boss with a raise request. It may make your boss uncomfortable and less likely to grant your request, regardless of its validity.
• Don’t push your luck. If you’ve recently receive a raise, you shouldn’t be requesting another. This is both unprofessional and makes you look unappreciative of the raise you just received. Similarly, if you were recently turned down for a raise, don’t be quick to ask for another as well. Instead, work to get better in the areas your boss mentioned when denying your initial request and you’ll be better prepared to discuss why you deserve a raise the next time the subject comes up.
• Don’t make demands. Keep in mind you’re requesting a raise, not demanding one. Giving your boss an ultimatum could quite possibly get you fired, so keep your cool and calmly request a raise using the information you’ve already gathered.
• Keep your future in mind. Being denied a raise is not a good feeling, but it’s no reason to quit your job. Instead, you need to consider your future with the company. If you’ve been denied a raise because the company simply can’t afford it, that’s not a negative reflection on your performance. However, if you’ve been denied a raise because your boss or supervisor doesn’t feel you’re