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How To Ask For A Raise

written by: Baby Rani•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 2/10/2009

Many of us encounter a situation in which we have to ask our supervisors for a salary rise. This delicate negotiation, when done with care and preparation, with a backup plan firmly in place, can be carried out in a completely efficient and professional fashion.

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    Not everyone is lucky enough to be in a workplace where instant and consistent recognition is the norm, and a raise in salary occurs exactly when it should, eliminating the need for us to negotiate over it. In the real corporate world, most of us have to stand up to be noticed and ask for a raise when the time is right. So, how exactly do you tackle that not so forthcoming boss, who has paid no heed to that long pending raise of yours? Clearly, sitting and waiting for that raise isn’t going to work, so let’s discuss a smart and effective approach of getting your hands on that elusive salary raise.

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    • Do your research

    This is the first thing you must do before ask for a raise. Use salary calculator tools such as the one available online and find out what are the typical salaries doled out to people in your field of work. If you work for a large professional organization, your company’s website or internal site might carry typical salary information as well.

    • Workout how much you should be earning

    Within the typical salary range that salary calculators and salary surveys provide you, place yourself at the right spot, taking into account your total number of years of experience and the amount of time you have spent with your current employer.

    • Your company’s financial health matters

    If your organization is currently going through financial difficulties, the worst thing you could ask for is a salary raise. Grin and bear it and wait it out.

    • Prepare your case

    Do a self analysis of all that you have brought to your job in the past year. List all your accomplishments in that job role, recent ones first, along with the relevant skills that you bring to the job which have made you successful in your work.

    • Meet the boss!

    Having prepared a strong case as to why you deserve a raise, approach your employer and set up a formal meeting; do not send an email or discuss this over the phone. Show how serious you are about the job and the raise. Gather all the documentation you have prepared when going in for the meeting and treat the discussion like how you would sell yourself to a prospective employer.

    • Have a backup plan

    Your boss might be convinced with your argument and decide to give you that raise. Or he/she might need more convincing as to why you need a raise; worse, they might completely turn down your request. In any case, have a backup plan. If the employer cites valid reasons regarding your performance, be prepared to talk it out and also to do some thinking of your own to improve upon your pitfalls. If you feel that the employer has not presented a convincing argument and is needlessly denying you a raise, you might consider the option of quitting your job; be prepared to look at other options where you might be appreciated better.