The Right Way to Ask for a Raise

Just the thought of it can make your stomach turn, your muscles tense and your brain shut down. Believe it or not, you’re not the only one paralyzed by the thought of scheduling time with your manager to discuss compensation. If you’re unsure on how exactly to ask for what you are worth, let’s discuss the right way to ask for a raise.

Know your worth

One of the most common mistakes is asking for a raise and being unaware of the market rate for your job. Prepare for your meeting by using tools like PayScale, LinkedIn Salary, or Glassdoor to know what the market is paying for jobs similar to yours. Another method is to find other professionals in your field or friends and get their insight. Aon Hewitt estimates the job increase rate for 2019 should average around 3.1%. Unless you’re looking for for a major promotion, asking for a 5% raise should not be out of the question.

If you don’t what the market rate is for your work — and in your geographic area in particular, since there can be wide variations by region — find that out before you ask for more money. If it turns out that you’re already at the top of the market, you’d want to factor that into your thinking about what’s reasonable — and if it turns out you’re underpaid, that’s useful information too.

Raise your game with proof

You need to have a reality check and ask yourself, “Am I truly indispensable?”. Prepare a “proof pack” exhibiting ways you have helped move the needle in your company. Have you worked on a major project and contributed a lot? Have you taken on additional responsibilities on the team? If so, provide performance metrics to show your value to the organization. Employees who are take initiative beyond their role on projects, mentoring others or proving their endless reliable are great ways to ask for a raise.

What to say in the meeting

Begin by thanking your manager for their time. Be confident but also humble in discussing your performance “brag reel”. It is also a good idea to ask for feedback along the way to ensure your manager does not have any questions regarding your presentation. This is a great way to gauge their buy-in throughout the conversation as well as ensuring your points are clear. A helpful idea is to prepare an outline of the points you would like to make during the conversation to help keep you on track. If you’d like a template to work from, has a sample text on its site, quoted below:

“I really appreciate the opportunities you’ve given me for greater responsibilities, like X and Y. I’ve been getting great results in those areas over the last year and have exceeded the goals we’d created. Could we talk about adjusting my salary to reflect this higher level of contribution?”

“I’m hoping we can talk about my salary. It’s been a year since my last raise, and I’ve taken on a number of new responsibilities since then. I’m managing all our copywriters and was even able to smooth out that long-running issue with the design team, which ended up saving us a ton of time in the last few months. I think things are going really well, and I’d like to talk about increasing my salary to reflect this new work.”

It’s never easy to ask for a raise but you will never know the outcome unless you ask. If you handle the conversation the right way, it can be a learning experience for you and open the door for a positive feedback session with your manager. True leaders will use the time to offer career path advice! Regardless, the time spent will be valuable for both of you.

What would be your advice on the right way to ask for a raise?

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