Ready to ask for a Raise? Are you sure?

September 5, 2013 | Career Advice

Nothing quite strikes fear in the heart of the diligent worker as asking for a raise. If you find yourself fearful at the thought of asking for a pay increase, you’re in good company. Most fear that this could lead to sending a mixed message to their boss/company or even worse lead to conflict.. Even those who are brave enough to make the request are often rejected, and people fear rejection. Yet, if you know a few tricks, you can increase your chances of successfully asking for, and receiving, a raise.

Before you ever set foot in your boss’s office to enter down this path, you need to weigh the benefits versus the consequences. Even a $5,000 raise translates in to roughly $100 per week in “paycheck impact”. That is roughly $68 AFTER taxes and $1.70 an hour. Is the risk of appearing selfish or discontented worth $1.70? Will this amount alter your lifestyle or how you feel about your employer?

Next, you also need to consider your employer’s viewpoint. How is your performance viewed by your superiors? What have you done in the past few months that might have enabled you to stand out? Compile a summary of your achievements where you’ve reduced costs, saved time, and increased quality for your company. Finally, your last several performance evaluations will likely give you the documented proof that you need as the ‘cherry on top’.

Ok, if you’ve decided the risk is worthwhile, you need to decide on the amount that you are targeting and have an idea or logic as to how you arrived at that number. Most experts agree that it is more effective to ask for a specific raise, than to appear as though you are simply complaining and leaving it to your boss. Now you need to schedule an appointment. Simply share with your boss that you are seeking some advice, and set the time and date to discuss face to face.

Now, you are finally ready to address the question. Remember that you likely won’t receive any change in compensation immediately, so talk to your boss with the idea that this is important to you, but not necessarily time sensitive. Be positive and approach your boss with your short summary of accomplishments to justify your need for more money. Never suggest that you have gotten another offer from somewhere else or that a recruiter or colleague has suggested that you are underpaid.

No matter how carefully you plan and strategize, there’s no guarantee that you will get a raise. If you follow these steps, you will improve your chances of having your boss take you seriously and see your point of view. If you receive opposition to your request, you might suggest setting specific goals and ask what you might do in order to “earn” that raise in the next six to nine months. Good luck!