Asking for a raise is a tricky and intimidating proposition. Sure, you think you’ve earned it, and maybe you have. But the thought of interrupting your frazzled supervisor to raise the question – “Hey boss, how about giving me more money?” – well, it’s just something most people avoid until review time.
But the old saying is true – you’ll never know if you don’t ask. If you do deserve a raise, your boss probably knows the question is coming and will respect you for raising it at the proper time and place. So do your research. Know your value, and be prepared to present a clear, concise case. And stay positive. Raises don’t come out of confrontations.
Here are five things to think about before you knock on the supervisor’s door.
- Know the financial situation: You’re aware – or you should be – of how the company is doing. If the brass is wringing its collective hands, or if the words “layoffs,” “furloughs” or “cutbacks” have been thrown about the office, it’s obviously not the time to ask for more money. If growth is plentiful, and if the word “bonus” is not a forbidden phrase, you may be in the clear to ask for a raise.
- Keep your mouth shut until the right time: First off, never ask a peer or co-worker how much money they make. It’s immediately an awkward scenario for the other person, and that could damage the relationship. Most importantly, some businesses consider such an act a fireable offense. That’s not to say you can’t research what your “going rate” should be. Dig around online, talk to friends (who you don’t work with) to find some data about general salary numbers for your skill level.
- Prepare your case: You should have plenty of ammunition for your salary request. Demonstrate the good work you’ve done, and have the physical proof on hand. If there are tangible sales numbers or percentages you can show, even better. Prove how much you’re worth to the company, but don’t do it by slighting others in the office. This is about you and your salary, not what your co-workers are doing or making.
- Don’t make threats: You may believe that you have to make more money, or quitting is the next logical option. Just don’t present it that way to your supervisor. Making a threat to leave will certainly stain your working relationship, and that’s no way to get a raise. If you have a better offer from another company, good for you. Don’t throw it in your supervisor’s face as his or her cue to cough up more cash. If that other job and salary is what you seek, then go on already.
- Don’t get greedy: Most of us think we’re worth more than we earn. But if we actually asked for that much, we’d get laughed out of the office. If you’ve decided to ask for a raise, be realistic. It’s doubtful you’ll be able to snag a 15- percent boost. Think 3 percent. That’s the general cost-of-living increase standard. Hopefully you’ve proved your worth and your increase will go even higher. But 3 percent is a good place to start.