How to Ask for a Raise at Work

How to Ask for a Raise at Work

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Collect All the Positive Praise You’ve Received Since Your Last Performance Review

It helps if you set up a folder on your computer or in your email account to store all those notes from clients, your boss, and your colleagues in which you were commended for a great job. We like to call this your "smile file," an organized place with examples of the great work you do. This is why we think it's so important to constantly 

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Collect All the Positive Praise You’ve Received Since Your Last Performance Review

conduct regular self-evaluations. These are regular reviews you do of your work in addition to any formal annual review or performance review you and your boss might have.

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Always Bring Data + Numbers

With your self-evaluations, you're keeping a detailed track record of all your past achievements and recent accomplishments. This information is the "glue" to your Ask because nothing speaks louder than data and facts. Here are some questions to ask yourself in your weekly evaluations: How has your company or 

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Always Bring Data + Numbers

department directly benefited from your work? Get specific. Did your team play a role in increasing sales by [X]% recently? Did you bring in [X] new clients? Is the team you oversee bigger than it was last year? Were you included in any important projects? What were they and what role did you play? Who were the clients? – Over the past year (or even 

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Always Bring Data + Numbers

the past week, month, etc.) when did you receive positive feedback? What was it? Are there any trends in the feedback you receive?

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Consider What You’ll Bring to the Team in the Coming Year (and Beyond)

You’re asking for this raise because you’ve demonstrated that you’ll go above and beyond in your current role, but your boss also wants to hear that you’re in it for the long haul. How do you plan to continue growing within the company if you do get this raise? Spend some time thinking about where you want your career to go.

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Think About Why Your Boss Would Want to Give You More Money + The Time of Year

What’s in it for your boss? Would giving you the raise ensure that they have a stable person in a management position?  Would your raise prevent the possibility of you leaving and thus the turnover time and drawn-out application process they dread? Would your promotion include you being more client-focused?

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Think About Why Your Boss Would Want to Give You More Money + The Time of Year

Put yourself in your boss' shoes. What are their priorities? What does success look like for them and your team/department? If you can tie your raise to reasons that are also good for your boss, that's a win-win.

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Come Up With a Real Number

Next, you need to know what is the salary number you're going to ask for? This is the worst part, but it's why you're here. They’re going to ask what salary you want and you need to have an answer. That number should be based on real research (try The Salary Project™ or one of the other salary research tools) or, even better, you can ask your peers 

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Come Up With a Real Number

in similar roles and companies how much they make. Don't ask just one person. Try to understand the entire salary compensation of five people—men and women—and industry standards. We know it's weird to ask people about money but going straight to the source is really important for making an informed Ask.

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Get on the Calendar

At some offices, a talk about a raise might come up naturally when discussing growth or new responsibilities your boss wants you to take on, but in most cases, you’ll want to make sure you’ve requested a set time to sit down. The last thing you want is your boss checking her watch because she’s due in a meeting. So, put time on her calendar 

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Get on the Calendar

and give her a heads up that you'd like to discuss your role and current salary. If you can meet in-person, that's preferred, however, a video meeting also works well. We find that being able to read body language and tone of voice is helpful. If, for some reason, your boss wants to negotiate over email, here's how to negotiate salary over email.

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Don’t Just Practice, Record It

This may feel weird (and a little bit silly) but it will help you so much. Set your phone on a table and record yourself making your Ask. Force yourself to listen back to it (it's hard to hear yourself, it really is, but it’s so worth it). Pay attention to body language, eye contact, face-touching, and any nervous filler words. Perfect your pitch before you enter the room—oozing with confidence!

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Go Through Your Ask With a Friend

Phone a friend—that's what friends are for. It’s one thing to do it in the mirror.  Try having a friend sit in, and make sure they’re a friend who you know will give honest feedback. When you get that raise, take your friend to dinner!

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