How to Ask for a Raise - Deepstash
Ask for a Raise

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How to close the deal

How to handle objections

How to present your value to your employer

Ask for a Raise

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A raise

... is a recognition that you’re now contributing at a higher level than when your salary was last set. 

A raise isn’t a favor or a gift; it’s a way for employers to pay fair market value for your work and to keep you around because otherwise you’re eventually going to want to find a different job that does pay you competitively.

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It’s normal to ask

It’s not greedy or entitled to ask for a raise.  Unless you work somewhere truly dysfunctional, it’s understood that you work for money. This is okay.

Even if your manager doesn’t ultimately say yes, you’re not likely to damage your relationship by making the request, as long as 
  • you’re not asking for an amount that’s wildly out of sync with the market for your work, and 
  • you have a track record of strong work.

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Be emotionally intelligent about your timing

You shouldn’t ask to talk about your salary when your manager is especially harried or having a bad day or nervous about impending budget cuts. 

On the other hand, if you’ve just saved the day with an important client or garnered rave reviews for a high-profile project, or if your boss has seemed particularly pleased with you lately, now might be a particularly good time to make the request.

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Doing excellent work for a year

For most people, expect to wait a year from the last time your salary was set before asking for it to be reassessed.

The “excellent work” part of this really matters. If your boss hasn’t seemed pleased with your work, a request for a raise isn’t likely to go over well.

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Your company’s raise and budget cycles

If you work for a company that generally gives raises once a year, pay attention to when that normally happens and plan to initiate the conversation with your boss at least a month or two before that formal process begins. 

If you wait until decisions on raises have already been made, it might be too late to get changes made.

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Know what your work is worth

Find out what the market rate for your work in your geographic area is before you ask for more money. 

Figuring out the market rate for your work isn’t always straightforward. Salary websites aren’t always accurate at the individual level but can give you a very rough range.

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Talk to people in your field

You can often get surprisingly good data just by talking to people in your field. 

Most people don’t love being asked, “What do you earn?” but will happily share if you ask, “What would you expect a job like X at a company like Y to pay?” You can also try talking to recruiters and see if any professional organizations in your field keep salary data (many do).

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Factor in your company’s salary structure

Some employers adhere to rigid policies around how large a pay increase anyone can get at one time. 

It’s useful to know how your company generally handles raises so that you know what’s likely to be possible.

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What to say to ask for a raise

Touch on why you think you’ve earned a raise — i.e., that your responsibilities and/or the level of your contributions have increased. 

If you know your boss will need to get your raise approved by someone above her, you can leave a short, bulleted list of key points of your most significant new responsibilities or accomplishments.

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Focus on your work accomplishments

... not your finances.

You might be asking for a raise because your rent went up or you want to save more for retirement, but that shouldn’t be part of your case to your boss. 

Your case should stick to business reasons — the contributions you’ve made and your value to your employer.

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If the answer is “no” or “maybe”

  • If you get a “maybe,” make sure you’re clear on what next steps are. It’s okay to say something like, “Could I plan to check back with you when we meet on the 20th?” 
  • If the answer is no,  this is a perfect opportunity to ask, “Can you tell me what you think it would take for me to earn a raise in the future? A decent manager should be able to explain to you what you’d need to do to earn more.

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