How to Ask for a Raise

By: James Greene, Job Center Representative

First, set a specific goal for what you want your raise to be. Even if you don’t think you will get that amount, your plan will help you do better.  Use the internet to find the average pay that people with your experience make in your line of work, as you can use that to find out how much you should ask for.  You should plan to open negotiations for a 10% to 20% increase in wages with a settling point of a far more common 3% to excellent 5% increase in your wages.  You should look for things that influence when the best time to ask for a raise, asking for a raise a month or two before your employer usually hands out raises in one good place to start. With the intent of negotiating your raise at that time you should look for a specific time to ask for the pay raise: when you’ve been noted doing something great is good, when you employer is going through a tough time with something is not.

While you wait you need to prepare to sell yourself as being worth the raise. Make a list of reasons you deserve a raise. If you find most people with your experience are making more than you in your current job add that to your list. Add the times when you left others with good impressions as well as the improvements and awards you’ve gained at work. Very importantly, add how your job responsibilities have changed and grown since you were hired. Its common for job responsibilities to both grow and change over time and this is a good reason why pay should grow with it.

Once you have a sufficient argument for your raise prepare it into a statement and rehearse it. You don’t need to remember it word for word though you should be COMFORTABLE relating the idea and facts of your pitch for your raise. Check your pitch for distracting language and remove language that unnecessarily expresses uncertainty of your point like “I think..” instead be both direct and certain “I am..”.  You need to sound certain of your idea without being rude. Rehearse your pitch to a friend, family member or co-worker to get an outside viewpoint of your pitch.

As with many things in career advancement it helps to rehearse the questions or counter points you may receive and think up good answers to those questions. By being prepared for such likely questions you will enhance your chances of success.

Place your pitch on paper and give it to your employer at the end of the meeting.  This will remind him why he should be receptive to your argument and enable him to better carry your point to others who might be needed to consider you receiving your raise. 

If you don’t get the raise, you want then you’re no worse off than if you never tried!  Find out why: Perhaps there are changes you can negotiate or alternatives to getting a wage like improved health benefits or an addition to your office that your employer can provide in place of a raise.  Whatever your result finding out the reasons can give you things to capitalize or work on to further improve your chances in the future.

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