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How to ask for a raise

How to ask for a raise

Asking for more money is never easy. Especially since it feels like jobs are scarce. But don’t under estimate yourself. If you truly believe you deserve a raise, then you probably do.

This writer has actually asked for a raise twice – so I know what works and what doesn’t. So here is my guide to biting the bullet and asking for more money

First, you have to bring it up

This is probably the most challenging part of the process, because the way you broach the topic of your salary will differ from workplace to workplace. Does this only make sense to talk about in your annual review? Or do you have an open relationship with your superiors where you can discuss these things at any time? Is this something better discussed with your HR department?

You need to nail this piece first.

Ideally, you’ll have a performance review coming up. This is the perfect scenario in which to discuss a change to your salary because your managers and HR will be expecting it and will probably already have something to offer. Whether or not it’s a number you’re willing to accept is a different story.

If you don’t have a review coming up, it gets trickier. But not out of the question. If all your salary negotiations take place with your HR team, you might want to start there. Send them an email or schedule a meeting to chat. If you have a fairly open relationship with your direct manager, scheduling time to speak to them could be the way to start. But getting a meeting in the calendar with someone above you is the first step. If anyone asks what the meeting is about you could say you want to discuss your current contract or you could just be straight up and say you want to have an open dialogue about your remuneration.

Why do you deserve more money?

The next step is making your case and in the current market, you’ll need to make a good one.

Try not to lead with “I really need to money” or other personal reasons. Instead, you should show what an invaluable asset you are to the company and that it is within the business’s best interest to keep you around and keep you happy.

Think about any new ideas you’ve introduced. New processes or structures, maybe. Perhaps you could show some revenue figures and explain exactly how many of those dollars are thanks to you. You could show how you’ve improved workflow or made the business more efficient. Highlight your achievements and show how you’ve improved performance for your area of the company.

And don’t just create a mental list, write these down in a formal document – just in case your company would like some more information as to why they should consider your proposal.

What to say

This is the part that many people are stuck on. But honesty is the best policy here. Frankly say that you would like to renegotiate your salary or wages. Explain that you believe you are an asset to the company and that you believe you deserve a raise. Here is where you need to pull out all your supporting documentation. Try not to ramble and just very clearly show how you benefit the company.

Money talks, so if you can show just how much revenue you drive for the business, this will be the strongest point in your argument. It also helps to prove how much money you can save the business.

How much to ask for?

This is another factor that will depend on the company you work for. Many workplaces will treat salaray negotiation as just that – a negotiation. So if you ask for $10,000 raise they may offer $5000. You might need to consider asking for more in order to get to the number you’re comfortable with.

Other workplaces might find asking for a larger increase to be unreasonable and may shut down the conversation altogether. 

So you really need to understand the culture of your company. If you think there will be little negotiation, ask for the number you want. If you believe that some negotiation will be involved, ask for more.

Do you have a competing offer?

A competing job offer can be a good and a bad thing. It can certainly help you leverage and negotiate a better contract at your current workplace. But if you put a competing offer on the table and your current company does not want to match it, then you may have to take on the new role.

So, if you plan on using a competing offer to get you more moolah, then you better be pretty sure your current company will match or beat it – or you have to be prepared to leave if they don’t.

If you’re sure this is something you want to discuss with your current company, you should move quickly. Schedule a meeting with your direct manager and explain that you’ve received another job offer with a more competitive salary package. Try not to lie here, your company may ask to see it. Then explain to your manager that you love your job (even if you don’t) and you would like to stay and help to build the business up – but unfortunately you can’t say no to more money. Rather than waiting for them to reply, it’s a good idea to straight up suggest that you would be willing to stay in your current role if they could beat (or match) the new offer. Be prepared that they might say no.

(Image by Avel Chuklanov)

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