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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
... 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.
Every job has a market value.
Compare what you’re currently being paid to the trends you find.
Consider your education, years of experience, years you’ve worked for your current employer and any specialized skills or attributes you bring to the table.
Make a list of your accomplishments, taking note of which ones added the most value to the organization
Identify a salary range or percentage increase in pay that you’d be happy with.
If you are convinced your ‘performance’ was a bad and it happens, you can still try to salvage it. A thank you note/email explaining a few things and showing your interest in the job might help change the interviewer’s mind. Botching up the interview does have a side effect: they would remember you!
Providing an honest reason for your bad performance can help, provided it’s not too long and boring. Do keep in mind that this is an effort from your side, and the rest of the factors are out of your control.