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Making Money: How to Ask for a Raise
Personal Finance

Making Money: How to Ask for a Raise

Story Highlights
  • Asking for a raise can be a scary affair.
  • Like any financial transaction, there are steps you can take to improve your prospects.

Improving your financial standing comes down to a simple equation: make more, or spend less. While it is important to create a monthly budget to help cut down on unnecessary expenditures, earning more income never hurts. While building a side hustle or earning passive income can help add to your accounts, sometimes the most straightforward option is to ask for a raise at your place of work.

It can be intimidating to request an increase in salary from your manager. Follow these tips to best position yourself to have your request answered affirmatively.

Be Smart With Your Timing

Timing is everything, the saying goes, and this also holds true with regards to your request for a salary increase.

There are two sides to this equation: be aware both of your own timing and make sure to understand the company’s cycles.

Starting with your own positioning, fully review your track record at the company and determine whether your “ask” makes sense. For instance, if you have only been in your current job for a week or so, now is probably not the time to demand a bump in salary. However, if you have been at your place of employment for a year or another round number, the timing could make sense.

Think about whether there is a logical milestone that you have reached, a particular project you have recently finished, or an achievement that you have accomplished. Coming into a request on the heels of a stunning success certainly places you in a strong position to ask for an increase in compensation.

Along with making sure your timing is appropriate, be aware of your company’s situation. If you know that annual budgets are presented and approved in December, asking for a raise a few months prior when plans and allocations are being formulated makes sense.

Along the same line of reasoning, if the company has hit a rough patch and gone through a round of layoffs, now is probably not the best time to ask for more money. It is okay to keep the focus on yourself, but do not neglect the overall macro situation.

Bring Specific Accomplishments

At the end of the day, your manager has budget limitations that they must work with. You need to convince them that you deserve a bigger slice of the company or department resources. The best way to do this is by showing the value that you bring.

Pointing to specific accomplishments or improvements that you have made to the company’s bottom line provides a compelling argument for why your own compensation should increase. Perhaps you have helped drive up sales, saved an existing account, or figured out a way to cut down on certain expenses.

Even if you cannot directly draw a connection between your performance and company revenue, think about what you have achieved. Maybe you have increased page views, solved a bug in production, or planned a wildly successful company outing. A good manager understands that not all tasks or operations need to directly earn revenues in order to add value.

It is also important to realize that much of the time, the decision does not rely solely on one individual. Even if they are sold on your request, they might need to convince others to approve your raise. The more evidence that you can give your manager regarding your value, the more compelling argument they can make on your behalf with their own bosses.

Ask for Something Logical

It is important to be reasonable with your request, as it demonstrates not only your seriousness but also your commitment to the company’s well-being.

Massive salary increases, or ones that would make you dramatically more compensated than your peers, will not be taken seriously. You want to show that you are asking for something that makes sense for your industry and level of experience.

Conducting research beforehand online or within your social network can help you to clarify what is a reasonable salary expectation. Asking for the moon exposes a lack of awareness of your industry, your company, and your particular place in the corporate pecking order.

Practice, Practice, Practice

You should enter into every meeting well-prepared, and this principle holds true when you are asking for a raise.

This does not need to be a long and intricate presentation. Be prepared with a concise and compelling message for what you want, and why you deserve it.

Practice your pitch so that when the time is right, you can fluently state your case. You want to make sure that you project both confidence and coherence, and running through your presentation a few times can help you become comfortable with the contents of your request.

Stay Positive

Your message should be one of positivity, as you are essentially asking your company to invest more resources in you. You want to make them feel good about this direction.

Showing that you are a valuable employee who makes the company better is an essential part of your request. Demonstrate that you are committed for the long-term, as no one wants to advocate for someone who has their sights set on greener pastures.

For this reason, ultimatums are not a wise move. You never want your manager to feel forced into increasing your salary, or that you will be immediately heading out the door if the answer is negative.

Do Not Demand an Immediate Answer

The best way to ask for a raise is in a private, one-on-one meeting with your manager. This will allow your manager to fully absorb your message, without feeling pressured to provide an answer in front of others.

For that reason, it is okay if your manager is not able to immediately respond to your request. Chances are they will need time to fully mull over your request, run the numbers, and consult with their peers or even with their own supervisor.

Give them the space to consider what you are asking for, and allow them to follow up with you in a few days or even weeks. It is okay to ask them for a general timeframe for when you can expect to receive an answer, but do this gently and without compulsion.

Conclusion: Know Your Worth

At the end of the day, go forth with the conviction that you are a valuable member of your team. Do not be afraid to ask for what you think you deserve.

Enter into the meeting with the full belief in the merits of your case. You are the only one who fully knows your true worth. This is your opportunity to make sure that your manager does as well.

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