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Career Corner
Ask For a Raise Without Fear
Monday, February 06, 2012

Asking for a raise is not an easy feat. We all want one, but are we supposed to go about asking the boss for more money? It's a tough question, one that many fear the repercussions of if things don't pan out well.

People who are considering asking this question need to ask themselves a few first. It takes a lot of guts to bring up a raise and there's good reason, but if well-prepared that anxiety should lessen. These five tips will help you working your way through such a senstive conversation:

Know Your Stuff

Do your homework and research so that you have a frame of reference to compare your current compensation. The internet has made it easier to find out information on salary ranges for your job within your field and region. The more thorough you are in your research the better you'll be able to recognize that not all jobs and people are created equal. You'll need to consider factors such as experience in the field, tenure with the company, region of the country, and size and success of the business. All of these are legitimate reasons to pay people differently for the same job.

Timing is EVERYTHING

Any time you are bringing up a heavy subject, it has to be presented at the right time otherwise you forfeit all chance of success. Bosses don't like surprises. A topic as important as this should not be sprung up without notice. When your boss doesn't see this coming it's unprofessiaonl and can be offputting. You'll want to mention to them ahead of time that you want to discuss your career, don't mention the raise specifically, then arrange a time to do so. This will give both of you time to work out your schedules accordingly. Also think about the state of the business. If times are tougher than usual then this naturally would not be a good time to ask for a raise. Opportunities to ask your boss for one are rare so you don't want to risk using up one of these chances at inopportune moments.

Toot Your Own Horn

You can't reasonably ask for a raise without providing an argument for why you believe you deserve it. Be very specific in your examples as they are stronger than general statements. Create as long of a list as you can and prioritize them so you don't run out of things to say when prompted and you get the most important said off the bat. The thing to remember is that you want to demonstrate your value, high performance, and go above and beyond your day-to-day job on a regular basis.

Nothing is Guaranteed

Your boss could have every reason to give you a raise and still decline it. Even still, be gracious and professional if you are told no. Every employers biggest cost is compensation so you're probably not the only one asking and have to consider. Business performance and budget constraints are also mitigating factors so don't feel rejected or feel that it has anything to do with you. It just might mean that another time will be better.

Thicken Your Skin

It can be a big blow to your ego but you have to understand that being declined a raise is not meant to be personal, it's simply business. Most employers would like to give their employees raises when deserved but are just unable to. You don't want to get emotional and do something detrimental to your career and later regret. Just be prepared for a "no," thank your boss for listening and ask what you can do to be reconsidered at a future point.


Of course, think about why you're asking for the raise in the first place. Everyone could use more money but that doesn't necessarily count for deserving it. If you believe that the work you put in is more than what you're compensated for then that's a good place to start but you also want to give your employer reasons other reasons. You want to compel the employer how keeping you will further benefit the company and that you're worth the additional pay. This will be a more of an incentive for them to approve your request.
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