How to Ask for a Raise

Asking for a raise is one of the most difficult and significant conversations you will have in your career.  It can be a nerve-racking and awkward topic for employees to bring up to their boss, but if you want to move forward, it has to happen at some point. The most important piece of asking your manager for a raise is to be prepared. Simply walking into your manager’s office and saying that you want a raise won’t work.  You have to do your research, get organized and be prepared for such an important conversation.

Prior to asking for a raise your first step should be to review salary guides for your particular industry and position. Some great resources are  and You will need to be aware of what others working in your field are making and find an accurate market rate for your work. You can look to professional organizations, job boards with salary guides and also asking individuals in your network in your same position can be a great resource.  Once you find out the market rate, make sure that your raise request stays within reason of this rate. If you ask for an outrageous pay increase, managers may consider your request as an act of greed not feeling that you’ve earned it. You must be realistic with the pay raise you present,  and by doing your research you can feel comfortable that what you are asking for is not out of the question.

Once you know the exact number you’re going to request it’s just as important to be able to justify your pay raise. You should be able to explain to your manager why you believe you deserve a raise. This does not incorporate your personal life so don’t include things like, “I just bought a new house, I  have three kids”.  Make it about your accomplishments within the particular organization. When possible, let the numbers and facts do the talking. If you increased sales by a certain percent or produced exceptional work in a particular area, showcase this in your conversation with your manager. Showcasing your accomplishments will allow your manager to look at real facts and figures that directly correlate to the success of the company.

Knowing the number you’re asking for as well as your reasoning will help you through the conversation and so will knowing when to ask. If your company is going through budget cuts and lay-offs, asking for a raise during that time is not appropriate. Also know when your boss is available and not swamped with work so they can focus on the conversation with no added stress or distractions. Face to face meetings are much more efficient than e-mailing when dealing with raises, set a time with your manager and be prepared for the conversation.

Everyone in the working world acknowledges how tough asking for a raise is so, knowing your number, your reason behind asking and finding an appropriate time will smooth the process. Make sure to practice what you are going to say and be prepared for the conversation to go either way. Be mature and professional in your meeting, don’t get emotional or threaten to leave if your request is refused. Do your research and prepare your case and have a professional meeting with your manager and you may just get what you asked for!

Not asking for a raise anytime soon but looking for a new career in marketing? Check out our current openings in marketing, creative and interactive.

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