Asking for a raise can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time. Despite the fact that 70% of people who ask for a raise receive one, only 37% of workers even ask. Learning how to ask for an increase in pay is an essential skill that will serve you throughout your entire career and boost your financial wellness. By keeping a few best practices in mind, you’ll be able to successfully negotiate your salary — no matter your age or experience.
1. Understand What Your Work is Worth
Excellent work deserves to be compensated appropriately. Look at your responsibilities — have you lead any projects or taken any special initiatives that your coworkers didn’t? By assessing yourself, you’ll have a clearer understanding of what you bring to the table.
2. Ask Often For What You’re Worth
Asking for a raise simply recognizes that you’re working at a higher level than when your salary was last reviewed. Reminding your boss consistently of your value will ensure they notice your contributions and ambition and keep you top-of-mind during budget conversations.
3. Make Your Request Timely
Timing is everything. Consider popping the question after a noteworthy accomplishment, during a successful performance review, with the acceptance of a new project, or before the end of the fiscal year. Remember that it’s advisable to wait until you’ve been at the job for a year before asking for a raise unless you’ve taken on a new leadership role or responsibilities.
4. Do Your Research
What are others being paid for comparable work? Look to market data on sites like GlassDoor, PayScale, and Salary.com and create a spreadsheet to record your findings. The concrete numbers will help justify your request.
5. Prepare and Practice Your Pitch
Being prepared will boost your confidence. When making your gameplan, compile a list of accomplishments, including both qualitative and quantitative attributes. Focus on the value you bring rather than your need for a pay raise and remember to always ask in person.
6. Dress for Success
A clean, sharp outfit communicates professionalism. You should have a feel for the culture at your company and match your look appropriately, being careful not to go overboard. Simple colors and good hygiene are a great place to start.
7. Communicate Your Goals
Show that you’re committed to the company by communicating your long-term goals to take on more responsibility. This ensures that your boss knows you’re not just looking for a quick, short-term pay bump.
8. Avoid ultimatums
Ultimatums don’t build positive professional relationships. Instead of threatening to leave the company if the salary negotiation doesn’t go your way, emphasize that you’d love to stay with the company and you hope that you can work something out.
9. Prepare for every outcome
Be prepared to respond professionally, no matter the outcome. If your request is declined, ask how you can improve your performance with specific details on what you can do for higher compensation. Also, consider setting a time to revisit the conversation in a few months. This shows you’re dedicated to advancing your career. If your boss values your work but can’t give you a raise because of budget restrictions, negotiate other aspects of your job like more work from home flexibility or paid time off.
If you feel you’re unable to move up, consider switching organizations. To continue thriving in your career, asking for a raise is an essential skill. Whatever the reason may be that’s holding people back, it’s clear that Americans should start negotiating their salaries more frequently and more effectively. This infographic from Self Lender walks you through how to successfully ask for a raise.
About the author: Jeff Smith is the Vice President of SEO at Self Lender, an organization that helps thousands of people begin their financial journey with a credit builder account. He also serves as Editor of the Self Lender blog. Jeff has more than 14 years of experience in marketing and product management teams in high-growth companies and was previously a newspaper editor.