You work hard, you have a proven track record of success, and you think it’s time for a raise. Convincing your boss of the latter can be a bit tricky. You don’t know what other business-wide factors are at play that could affect the decision. Perhaps your boss is thinking of adding a new position and has committed extra funds for that. Or perhaps there’s a new product launch coming up that’s making her really nervous, and now is not a good time.
While you can’t read your boss’s mind, you can tailor your ask for a greater chance of success. These five top ways to ask for a raise are time-tested. While they may not work every time, they’re best practices because they’re not threatening and they won’t pollute the relationship should your boss decline your request.
1. Do Your Homework
What are others getting in your geographical area that have the same job title? Websites like glassdoor.com or onetonline.org can help you do this homework. If you’re receiving significantly — or even slightly — less, this is a strong case for a wage increase. When comparing wages, factor in the company size. If you work for a small business with 10 employees, your boss won’t be able to compensate you the same way a Fortune-500 company could. If you have facts and figures to back up your request, and are paid less than colleagues at other firms, this can help your boss see that it’s time for a raise. This strategy works because it’s not personal, it’s based on the position. You’re asking for a raise to compensate you at the current market rate for people with your title, not on your merit. This makes it difficult to deny your case.
2. Pick the Right Time
While you won’t know everything that’s on your boss mind, you can get a feel for the office temperature by paying attention to what’s coming down the line. If your boss is overwhelmed or distracted, she may not be fully listening to you. If the company’s had a bad quarter, she won’t want to spend. Picking the right time makes your boss the most receptive to your case, which is why this strategy works. Another part of this tip: Set up a meeting with your boss to discuss your performance, instead of asking on the fly.
3. Focus on Your Accomplishments
If you want a raise, demonstrating increased responsibility or project success over time makes a strong case. Accepting a raise implies that you’re also accepting more responsibility. If you can’t follow through or haven’t accomplished anything great, this might not be the right time for you to ask. Employees who have a proven track record of success are much more likely to get a raise than those who are average or under-performing, which is why this technique works so well.
4. Remain Reasonable
Before you ask, prepare yourself to be turned down. This can help you remain reasonable during the conversation. If your boss says yes, that’s great. If she says no and explains the reasons why now is not the right time, listen to her. Threatening to quit will get you a bad reputation around the office. Likewise, stay calm if you’re turned down. Avoid crying, yelling, and other outbursts of emotion.
Before you ask for that raise, practice your pitch. This advice works because it helps you hone your speech and become comfortable with talking up your accomplishments and making your case. Consider asking a friend to role-play with you, taking the boss role. Advocating your case can make you more prepared — and confident — for the real day, boosting your chances to net that rais