Turn Setbacks into Setups

How to Prepare Yourself to Ask for a Raise

December 3, 2018

Getting a raise is one of those instant personal upgrades we’re always looking forward to…but actually asking for one is rarely high on our list of things to do.


Worse, even if you truly feel you’ve earned one, it’s not always clear how to ask for a raise. A raise or promotion means your company is investing in you, in the hope that you’ll offer a good rate of return. But how do you prepare to prove that?


Here’s all you need to know about asking for a raise, and how to get ready for that crucial meeting.


Consider your position

Before you even think about sitting down to ask for a raise, you should realistically consider your position within the company. How long have you been there? Depending on the industry, six months or even a full year may not be enough to request a pay increase.


Beyond that, longer tenure will give you more leverage in the discussions—but keep in mind that you aren’t entitled to a raise simply because you’ve spent a long time with your company. Once upon a time, employees “deserved” an automatic annual raise, but this isn’t very common anymore. Today, you have to earn it.


Document past contributions

So, you feel like you’ve been at the company a while, and you’ve worked “hard” enough to deserve the raise. Unfortunately, vague terms like “hard work” won’t get you the reward you’re looking for, unless you throw in more concrete details.


Consider this: How much value have you added to the team and the company? Are there any hard facts you can highlight to prove your value? For example, maybe you’re managing more employees or freelancers than you used to, or maybe you have concrete numbers around the improvements you’ve made to your company’s strategy. In terms of timing, it’s a good idea to capitalize on a particularly big accomplishment, such as a new deal or client, by asking for the raise shortly after.


Detail your future plans

If you want your company to consider you an investment of value, you’ll want to show that you offer a good rate of return. Go into the meeting knowing the details about how you can help in the future, including the how, what, and why. If you have any upcoming plans to help streamline a company process, or if you’re going to see increased responsibilities in the future, be sure to mention these during the meeting as a way of pointing out your upcoming contributions.


Lay it all out

One thing worth mentioning: in a meeting about a raise, it’s important to not make your boss do the homework. Prepare your plan, and get ready to explain how your work continues to benefit the company, team, or your immediate manager. You’re essentially selling yourself here, so be prepared to show the “customer” how they will benefit.


After you’ve laid out your plan, the next step is to rehearse. Be ready to discuss your logic with confidence, and prepare for any questions that may come up as you briefly present your case.


Once you’ve had time to sit down with your boss, don’t expect an answer right away, and don’t feel bad if you don’t receive what you’ve asked for. Often, a denied request isn’t a reflection on you, just on the situation your company currently faces. But keep trying—with these tips in mind—so you can prepare your next request at a time when circumstances are more favorable. Good luck!

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