How To Ask For A Raise

Contrary to popular belief, crawling and groveling is not how to ask for a raise. Understanding how to ask for a raise is the first step in creating an effective plan to get your pay increase. Some companies are like clockwork with annual reviews and raises. Other companies prefer to treat pay raises like an annoying neighbor who corners you for a conversation; maybe if they ignore the pay raise subject, it will just go away. If your company is like the latter, then you need to learn how to ask for a raise in a way that will at least get the company to seriously consider the proposition.

  1. Make sure the time is right. No matter how awesome you think you are, if the company is cutting hours because business is down then now is not the time to ask for a raise. Part of knowing how to ask for a raise is in choosing the right time to make your move. If you notice the company hiring new people, buying new office equipment and changing from a cash bar to an open bar at the annual holiday party, then the time is right to make your presentation. That is another key to learning how to ask for a raise; you need to treat it like an important business presentation. You need to create charts and graphs and be ready to speak for at least 10 minutes on why you deserve a raise.
  2. Hopefully, you were keeping notes during the year.  A raise is based on your increased value to the company, and part of displaying that value is to list your accomplishments and how they benefited the company. Trying to use vague recollections of some of the great stuff you have done is useless. If that is all you have, then start taking notes now and ask for a raise in a year or so. If you can piece together specific examples of projects or deals you were directly responsible for that brought profit or other benefit to the company, then you have some of the information you need to make your case. Make copies of everything you have to back up what you say, but create a summary sheet that you will use in your presentation. The summary sheet will list all of your accomplishments, the total dollar amount they brought to the company and any long-term benefits the company will realize.
  3. Point out the ways in which you increased your skill set. If you want a raise, then you will have to earn it. Showing up on time every day and doing your job is what your current salary covers. If you want more, then you will have to do more. That means going to outside training classes that are pertinent to your job, taking classes at the local community college and getting involved in after-hours activity that help improve your job skills. For example, if you work in a warehouse driving a forklift, then volunteering once a week to help the local thrift store move inventory and operate their forklift is pertinent.
  4. Create your presentation.  An organized presentation at the value you bring to the company and the ways in which you have improved yourself will blow your boss' mind. Create graphs that show your production versus other people in your department. Make copies of your training certificates to present and copies of any letters from charitable organizations you are volunteering for. Make two sets of copies of your information so you can give copies at the presentation, and then practice your presentation until it is smooth.
  5. Set up the meeting. Ask your boss to set up a meeting with himself and a representative from human resources so you can present your case for a raise. Give them your presentation, and remain positive the entire time. No matter what happens, thank them both for taking the time to listen. You might not get the raise this time, but you could be laying the foundation for a successful raise presentation next year.
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