Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

How To Get a Raise

It’s the uncomfortable question that, as employees, we will probably all have to ask at least once in our working lifetime. “Can I get a raise?” Of course, if you truly expect to get a raise you won’t ask it quite like that. So then, how do you appropriately ask for a raise? There’s no simple answer to that question. Often times, people are very funny about money and when you add your workspace into the mix, things can get very tricky. Asking for a raise can be a very risky choice and the way you go about it makes all the difference. So if you do in fact choose to go with it, you had better be prepared for anything that comes your way.

Spark News and I both hope that the following tips below on how to get a raise will be helpful to you when you decide that it is the right thing to do. If you think you are too nervous or shy to ask your boss for a raise, looking through the tips I provide may help you feel more prepared and in turn, help you feel more comfortable about asking the question.

1. Understand a Raise
In order to go about asking for a raise, it’s important to understand the reality of your salary and getting a raise. A lot of people make the mistake of telling their boss they need a raise. However dire your financial situation may be, it isn’t wise to tell your employer that you absolutely need a raise. First of all, you wouldn’t want to tell others about your personal financial situation. Second of all and more importantly, your salary and possible raise are both earned by you, not given to you. The salary you earn from your employer should be based on your performance and what you do for the company.

2. Think About It
Before you walk into your boss’s office asking for a raise, think it through for a while. As I mentioned in the above tip, a raise is something that is earned, not just given. Do you think you have truly earned your raise or are you just asking for one because you could use the extra money? If you ask for a raise and don’t have substantial reasoning behind why you think you deserve one, then you are likely making a mistake.

3. How Much of a Raise Do You Want?
Sure, you would like to beef up your salary, but if you are going to ask for a raise it is important to have a figure in mind. You can’t walk in and simply say you would like more money. Your employer will probably ask you how much more you would like to earn and you need to be prepared to answer promptly and clearly. You may be unsure how much you think you should be earning, so in order to figure it out you should do some research. On certain sites like salary.com, you can take a look at what the average salary range is for your position. From there you can factor in your years of experience and how long you have been working with the company to see how much you should be earning at this point and time.

4. What Have You Done to Deserve This Raise?
In addition to factoring in what other workers in your field earn, you should think about the work you have done for the company and what goals you have met in recent months. Have you taken on a larger work load? Are you managing more people or have more areas of business to manage? What additional responsibilities have you taken on over the past few months or years? These are all things that you will want to point out when you ask for a raise because these provide the concrete reasons to why you deserve this raise.

5. Think About Your Company
Since we are still recovering from the recession, a lot of companies may still be struggling a bit financially or are being frugal with their money. This may have an effect on whether or not you receive the raise you want. If you know that your company is still struggling and slowly recovering, then you may want to postpone your request a couple more months.

6. Prepare and Practice
Having a good plan of attack and strategy is a great idea and will help you feel more confident and comfortable when you actually ask for your raise. That’s why it’s great to set a rough guide drawn up before you go in. You don’t want to write down word for word what you want to say, but an outline is a good idea. Also, it’s a great idea to walk through in your head what you want to say before you say it. Much like preparing to go into an interview, you should practice what you want to say so you are more comfortable with it when you actually have to say it.

7. Think About What Will Happen If You Are Denied
Worse case scenario-your employer answers your request with a very large, “No.” What do you do now? Rejection is a hard pill to swallow, but when you are rejected by your employer and have to return to work everyday to face them, it’s an even harder pill to swallow. That is why you have to decide before you ask for a raise what you will do if you are rejected. Will you walk away from your job or will you hold out for a bit longer and ask your employer again at a later time? The answer to that question is heavily dependent on what kind of “no” your boss gave you. Did they deny you because the company isn’t in the best place right now financially? If so, then it probably is safe to say that it’s not based on your performance and you may be able to hold out for a later time. On the other hand, if the decision is based on your performance, that’s a bit more tricky. Do you think that your employer has good reasoning behind it? If you think their reasons are valid, then perhaps you can set some goals with them, set time periods for them and revisit the conversation once that time period is over. If you feel like their reasoning isn’t supported by hardcore facts, then maybe walking away is the best idea for you.

8. Set Up a Time to Talk to Your Employer
You can’t really just walk into your boss’s office and start talking about getting a raise right off the bat. You have to set the mood and make sure you have enough time to really discuss your request. That’s why you should talk to them ahead of time and ask them when they have some time to talk with you. Set up an appointment and, as I said before, prepare all of your notes and facts ahead of time so you are ready.

9. Get To It
You set up the time, you are prepared with all of your notes and facts and you are ready to get a raise. So, get to it and start asking!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Montreal Radio Guy

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter