Most of us don’t work just for the fun of it. If you do, then well, that’s nice. But the rest of us want (and need) to get paid, and paid what we deserve. If you are due for a pay raise, don’t expect your company to just offer it up. You have to go after what you want, and here’s how you do it.
Choose the Right Time
The best time to ask for a raise is when you know that the company is profitable and growing. Don’t wait until you’re super fired up and storm into your boss’s office. Set up a good time to meet, when he or she isn’t busy, tired, stressed, or otherwise in a bad mood. Better yet, look for signs that he or she is in a totally blissed-out mood. You know your boss well enough to know when to back off and when to charge ahead, so choose wisely. Your performance review can be a great opportunity to show what you’re made of and ask for that bump in pay—but you can also be proactive and ask before then (and before everyone else).
Having recruiters after you or even another job offer on the table gives you leverage when asking for a raise (be cautious of mentioning this; see our last tip). It is recommended to not ask for a raise if you’ve been with a company, or in your current position, for less than a year.
Prove Your Worth
You can’t really say you need a raise because your rent is being raised and you got a new cat. Perhaps this is true, but you have to make a compelling case for why the company should invest more in you. Sure, you have met all the demands of your job—but have you gone above the call of duty? Put together a list of added responsibilities you have acquired, and also skills that you have developed, or that you have that you can utilize for future endeavors.
Compile all your "wins" too since starting your position—like that email from the client or CEO praising your work, or actual data demonstrating how you’ve benefited the company.
Know what you are going to say and practice it out loud, whether in front of a mirror, on your drive to work, or in front of some trustworthy friends or coworkers. You don’t have to go into this meeting like you are giving a formal speech—but this is essentially a pitch, selling the boss on you. You also want to avoid coming across overly nervous or timid—watch for those blank space fillers (um, uhh), fidgeting too much, or not making eye contact. Practicing will help you be more confident, which brings us to our next point.
According to an article on abcnews.com, 84% of bosses actually expect workers to ask for a raise. Now is not the time to be humble or shy—you need to really stand out as a person the company cannot afford to lose. Keep this in mind: You are your biggest advocate. If you don’t speak up for yourself, no one will do so on your behalf. Sitting back and letting your work speak for itself is very commendable, but won’t get you as far—the squeaky wheel does get the grease after all.
Plus, there is always going to be someone else out there who will "squeak," and may get that raise or promotion over you—causing you to be bitter and resentful. You really don’t want to go there. Taking this initiative, and calmly and collectively presenting a smart argument for why you really are due for a raise, will also show your boss your commitment to growing with the company.
Be Prepared for a Yes
Best case scenario, your boss agrees that you are amazing. So how much do you want, then? Be reasonable—companies typically offer 4-5% pay increases to deserving employees each year. We recommend you don’t ask for more than 10%. Do your research into what the industry standard is for your position in your area. Talk to HR, colleagues, and other professionals you know, or go online to sites like Glassdoor for some insight. Have your target amount in mind, and be willing to negotiate.
…And Prepare for a No
Worst case scenario, your boss still denies you a raise. The answer could be no for a number of reasons, but be prepared with a backup plan. Ultimatums don’t really go far and could backfire on you—don’t threaten to leave or look for something else if you don’t get exactly what you want. Ask your boss what you can do to reach your goals—do you need to boost your performance, and how can you do that? Are there other ways you can be compensated for your stellar job performance that isn’t monetary—for example, remote days or benefits?
Good companies want employees who are motivated to move up and grow. It’s important to be with a company that nurtures your desire to advance your career. With these tips, you are clearly stating your career objectives, which should be appreciated by any manager.
Want to love Mondays? It’s possible when you love what you do. Paradigm is a San Diego staffing agency dedicated to finding the perfect job for candidates like you. We’re connected with some of the most innovative tech companies around, giving our employees that competitive edge needed in today’s job market. We hope to hear from you today, and let's make your career goals happen.