The best Strategies to Ask for a Salary Raise

Introduction

One day you may find that you earn enough, but the next day you were told that your colleague is receiving a higher wage for the same job. At such a moment it is not surprising that you start to ask questions about what you can do about this. We all want a higher salary, but most of us do not get it. Why is that? And how do you get your boss to give you a raise?  Remember one basic thing, your boss has a thousand reasons not to give you raise. First you need to make sure that your work is visible, and then switch a gear higher: show your boss that you really mean it, but do it in the right way. Read on and find here the best strategies for asking a salary raise.

1. Choose the right moment

You ask for a wage increase at most once a year, otherwise it will work against you. Many companies have to cut costs, so be careful not to be a a nuisance then.

The last thing you have to do is ask for a raise when your boss obviously has far too much work, or just before he leaves for the holidays. If you want your boss to listen to you, you will have to comply with his or her agenda. So do not surprise him or her unexpectedly with that question.

Start by turning the situation in your own favour. Make sure you have the situation under control. That means that your boss makes time for a conversation with you and that he knows what it is about. How do you handle that best? Send a short e-mail to your boss asking you if there can be talk about your performance and remuneration. Pick a date and time. During the conversation you have to find an ideal balance between self-assurance and submission. You make clear that you deserve that increase, but that you respect your boss and his decision.

2. First prove something

Actions are more appealing than words. Make sure you have distinguished yourself from your colleagues. In other words: show that you have made a significant contribution to the success of your department, more so than others.

Before you can expect anything extra from your boss you must have done something extra for him or her. You are only worth what you are entitled to. For yourself, consider how you would think about yourself if you were the boss. Do you think you should earn more? It is also important that you prove yourself to your colleagues and certainly to your customers. 

3. Make your successes known to key players

You can do a fantastic job, but if no one sees it, you are doing something awfully wrong. Make sure your boss knows what you are doing, and do not be too modest to highlight your achievements. It is too often the case that these remain outside the managers’ view.

You can not assume that everyone knows what you are doing. Now and then showing what you have done is crucial. Not only to your direct supervisor, but also to other important people in your company: the boss of your boss, people of the management, the head of another department, the best employees. Show them that you have complied with all the agreements made at the beginning of the year. Show that you have put some important things in order. Show that you have taken the initiative.

4. Determine your market value

A conversation with your boss always creates tension. Nothing wrong with it. For one, some key words are enough as preparation, while others need a written text. Do what you need for yourself, but do not ask for a pay rise unprepared.

Just ask for a wage increase if you know that it is a reasonable question. So first check what others earn in a comparable job with similar experience, responsibilities and tasks. Only when you find that you earn less, can you ask for a salary increase.

Some tips for a good preparation:

  • Find out exactly what your market value is: how much does someone earn with your education and experience? Salary scales can be found on the internet, at trade unions or via your network.
  • Determine in advance what your minimum requirement is and ask a higher amount. In this way there is still room for negotiation.
  • Consider what your ‘change money’ is. The chances are real that your boss says: “We can not go higher than this wage”. Make sure you have a list in your head at that moment with other things that might be possible: a laptop, a mobile phone, a company car.
  • Create a portfolio with what you have already done for the company. Your boss will want to know why you think you deserve a salary increase.

5. Choose a couple of strong arguments

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to come up with 20 arguments why you deserve a raise. Stating one or two compelling arguments with certainty has more effect than a list of four or five reasons. Before you tackle your boss, think about the main reasons why you deserve more wages. Try to find arguments from your boss’s point of view, and keep the focus on this during the conversation.

6. Believe in yourself

Others are not going to do it for you. Only when you believe in yourself can you achieve something. Even if you think your boss will not give you a raise, or that others are entitled to it, you do not allow these negative thoughts. If you believe that you have proven enough to get a raise, then go for it. Do not let others stop you from being successful.

7. You must ask very clearly

Treat the wage negotiation as just a conversation. Be aware that your boss is probably perfectly happy with the things they are now. So you have to start the conversation yourself, and question things if you want to change something.

Leaving things as they are saves your boss time and money. He does not have much interest in a discussion about what you want extra. You are the one who wants to change something about the current situation, so if you do not correctly indicate what, and do not explicitly ask for a raise, nothing will happen. 

8. It is a problem your boss can solve

Describe your question for a better wage as a problem that your boss can solve. That way you get him to think along with you. Does he not make a better financial proposal? Do not become angry, unless it is a controlled emotion. It shows that this increase is important to you and that you will not be denied. So, just put your fist on the table, but do not get hysterical.

9. Persevere

As I said before your boss has a thousand reasons not to give you a raise, so do not give up easily. If your boss is too busy to talk about it this week, then schedule a meeting a week later.

Even if the meeting has taken place and your boss “is going to think about a raise”, you have to persevere. If you wait for your boss to come back to you, he or she may think that you gave up and the raise was not so necessary. You as an employee must take action to get things done. If you keep waiting for your boss to come back to you, the opportunity can be gone.

The worst thing you can get as an answer is “no”. If you think you deserve a raise, you have to do everything for it, and possibly be creative to walk in other ways than anticipated to win your battle.

Final thoughts + recommendation

Some of the above tips might seem obvious to you, but I can assure you that most people do not think along these lines. I also would say that these tips might work better in smaller companies then when you work for a big company with a lot of rules and regulations.

Share with us how you managed to get your salary raise, by filling in the comment box below.

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4 Replies to “The best Strategies to Ask for a Salary Raise”

  1. >Only when you find that you earn less, can you ask for a salary increase.

    Not necessarily true… I mean, someone has to be the first one to earn more than everyone else. Maybe you could be the one that other people like you point to and say “Look how much she makes! Give me a raise!” 🙂

  2. Hola Jerry,
    I also applied when working in a relationship of dependency many of the strategies to increase my salary that you explain. In my case, I never knew a good boss. For many years I decided to be my own boss and the truth is that I feel very well. I consider it a key to have a strong personal self-esteem, do not you think? It seems to me that your life story is very similar to mine. Advice: You can enjoy it a lot 🙂

    1. Hola Claudio, sorry to hear that you never had a good boss. However, you are not alone. Becoming your own boss, like you did, is the best solution for most people. The last two years of my career in industry I advised the management of a Thai company in Bangkok and as a consultant I had the best time ever! Now having my own business beats everything.

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