Asking for a pay raise is one of the most difficult things to do for anyone, from the mailroom employee to the C-suite executive. After all, no one likes to ask for money—especially from a boss! But just like many things, asking for a raise is a learned skill. It takes a combination of confidence, knowledge and charm to pull off a successful pay raise negotiation.
Here’s our advice:
1. Know your value
Do some research to find out what other’s in your field are making. Websites like http://www.wageindicator.org/ can help you find out the average salary range by country according to job title and experience. If what you are asking for exceeds the average by more than 15 to 20 percent, perhaps you should consider applying for a new job, not just asking for a raise in your current job.
2. Timing is everything
Don’t ask for a raise during budget cuts, after a dismal quarter or during a time when you have not been performing to your full potential. If you do, acknowledge this during your pitch. Indicate that you are aware of shortfalls, but that you feel that you are being underpaid compared to industry standards.
3. Sell your accomplishments
Before going into a meeting about your salary, make a list of things you have accomplished since your last pay raise, promotion or review. Do they have a monetary value? Have you taken on more responsibility since your last review? Your superiors like to know that they can count on you to take on more work without asking for more money each time. But now that you’ve done that—and shown that you are ready to take on even more—a salary increase is not unreasonable.
4. Keep it positive
The meeting you set up with your boss to discuss a pay raise should not be used to air grievances. You’re not there to convey your disappointment with your current salary or to complain about being overworked and underpaid. This strategy won’t earn you a raise, and it will make you look unmotivated. The meeting should be used to discuss your value to the company and your desire to grow your career there. Keep your body language friendly, and dress for the role and salary you’re asking for.
5. Don’t make it personal
Asking for a raise in order to pay for your child’s tuition, to finance an addition to your home or because your husband or wife was just laid off is not going to work. Your personal life has nothing to do with the company’s budget, so you’re better off not mentioning personal reasons for wanting a pay increase.
6. Using a counter offer
If you have received an offer from a different company, you will want to let your boss know. In essence, you have researched your value and are now presenting it to your employer. However, be aware that some employers will not appreciate this tactic, feeling both offended that you went behind their backs and pressured that you are now holding the offer over their heads. Should you decide to present a counter offer, proceed with tact and humility.
7. Try and try again
If the answer is no, be sure to leave the meeting having asked your boss exactly what it would take to achieve a promotion and raise. Set goals accordingly, and come back to the table when you have reached them.