7 Tips for Getting a Raise

By Oded Korczyn on January 30, 2013

Would you like to get a raise?
Stupid question, you’re probably saying to yourself. “Who wouldn’t?”
While we may all want a raise, actually getting one may prove quite tricky.

AfterCollege came up with 7 tips to help you increase the chance that your next paycheck will be bigger than your last one.

1.  Ask for it. While this sounds trivial, many employees passively wait for their bosses to recognize their hard work and contribution to the organization. Over 40% of employees in America have never asked for a raise. Being passive about your compensation signals that you are happy with what you’re getting or that you feel you don’t deserve a raise, so why would your boss bother to give you one?
If you want to get a higher salary, you must explicitly ask for it. Yes, this can be intimidating. No, there is no way around it.

2.  Pick the right time. Usually, you don’t want to ask for a raise when the company is struggling, when you’ve been under-performing, or when you’ve been employed for less than 12 months. Oh, and if your boss is having a rough day, consider postponing the meeting.
On the other hand, if you just completed a successful project or received accolades from your manager, strike while the iron is hot. Usually, it’s better to schedule a meeting with your boss a few days in advance. Try to schedule it toward the weekend and after your boss had lunch; it’s not a good idea to ask for a raise while he or she is hungry.

3.  Know what you’re worth. It usually pays (pun intended) to do some research to determine your value (inside and outside the company). You can use salary calculators, HR professionals, or job listings to learn about the salary range for your position. If you know what the industry standards are for your position – taking into consideration education, location, and experience – you can set up realistic expectations (it’s okay to be a little optimistic).When you come to the meeting have a number in mind.  This number should reflect your desired new salary and should be backed by research. You don’t need to divulge this number, but you need to have one.

4.  Show recent wins. This need not be too flashy or elaborate (a one page list of accomplishments or even a spreadsheet is perfectly okay), but you must be able to demonstrate that you are doing your job well and that you are creating value for your employer.

5.  Prepare your argument. Meeting your boss to request a raise can be very stressful so you need to be prepared. You may need to make a case for why you deserve the raise. The material you prepared that shows your recent successes will help, but you may need to “sell yourself.” The more you practice your pitch the better. Remember: don’t make it personal (“Why is Mark making more than me?”), don’t say why you need the money, and no matter what, don’t get emotional.

6.  Be flexible. Often, your boss may not yield that easily. It’s okay to push back a little, but be willing to compromise. This may mean a lower raise, but be willing to also consider other forms of compensation (more impressive title, more vacation days, and other work-related perks). Finally, be prepared to hear no. It’s never fun, but it’s not the end of the world either. If you don’t get a raise, be sure to ask your boss what you need to accomplish in the future to deserve that raise. 

7.  Find a better job. Once you are employed, you are pigeonholed into a certain salary range and will likely only receive small incremental raises. If you want a substantial raise, your best bet is to find a new job. Of course, we at AfterCollege know a Great Place where you can start looking…

Found in Jobseekers