How to Ask for a Raise

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You feel you deserve a higher salary but should you ask for a raise? Let’s look at the facts: You’re long overdue for a raise. Your boss hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with one. Clearly, sitting around and waiting for your boss to give you a raise hasn’t worked so far. What are you waiting for? It’s time to ask for a raise. Here are some tips to help you do that.

1. Find Out How Much Others Working in Your Field are Earning

The first thing you should do before you ask for a raise is learn about typical salaries in your field. You can get this information by using salary calculator tools like and looking at salary surveys. If you belong to a professional association, check with it to see if it has salary information available. Begin by looking at the organization's Web Site.

2. Figure Out How Much You Can Earn

Salary calculators and surveys generally present you with a range of salaries. You must determine where you should fit into this range. To do this, consider the number of years you’ve been working in the field and the length of time you’ve worked for your current employer.

3. Evaluate the Financial Health of Your Employer

If your employer is having financial problems this is not the right time to ask for a raise. As an employee, you are probably aware of your company’s financial health, but don’t rely on the office grapevine alone. Do some company research, which includes looking at financial reports and following business news.

4. Prepare Your Argument

You really shouldn’t approach asking your boss for a raise as an argument, but you may have to make your case. Think of it as selling yourself just as you would do if you were trying to get a prospective employer to hire you. Make a list of all the things you’ve accomplished for the employer. Start with the most recent accomplishments and work your way backwards. Also make a list of your relevant skills – the things that make you successful at doing your job.

5. Decide What You Will Do if You Get Turned Down or Don't Get the Raise You Want

Before you walk into your boss’s office to ask for a raise think about what you will do if she says “no” or agrees to give you a raise that is much smaller than the one you want. Will you quit your job or will you wait a while and then ask for a raise at a later date? Your answer may depend on what your boss says. For example, has she turned you down because of your performance? If so, ask yourself if her criticisms are valid. If they are, think about what changes you can make. If they aren’t, you may want to go where you are appreciated. If there is some other reason you were turned down, talk to your boss to find out if she expects the situation to change. If she does, find out when you can talk about this again.

6. Set Up an Appointment to Talk to Your Boss

Show your boss how serious you are about asking for a raise. Treat this as a business meeting. Set up a time to meet with your boss. Don’t discuss your raise with him by email, at the water cooler, or by telephone (unless you and your boss don’t work at the same location).

7. Present Your Case

Your boss may agree to give you a raise immediately. You may have to do nothing more than ask her for one. Wouldn’t that be nice? If that doesn’t happen you may have to do more to convince your boss you should get a raise. Present the material you gathered earlier, including the typical salaries in your field and your accomplishments.

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