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The Right Way to ask for a Pay Raise

The most nerve-wracking letter to write for any employee is the letter asking for a pay raise. You know you deserve a raise and if you are a dedicated employee, your boss knows that as well. However, you can’t just walk into his office and tell him that. Certain protocols have to be observed, and preparation and good timing are important. Career experts advise that a request for a pay raise be put in writing, and only be made when you are sure that you are due for one. So if you played a key role in landing a huge deal, participated in any important projects, or worked extra hours this year, you have a solid reason to ask for a pay raise. Follow these steps to get the desired response from your boss when asking for a pay raise.

1. Pay Attention to Timing

Identify what season your company is experiencing. If your company has a pattern of increasing employees’ pay on merit after the yearly evaluation, then you might not need to ask for a raise. However if no such reward system exists in your company, you need to make sure that your request for a salary increase is not coming at a bad time. Bad timing includes periods of retrenchment, low returns, or recruitment. If you place your request at a bad time, it will get turned down faster than snow hardens into ice.

2. Do Your Research

Research the estimated pay range for your job position, so it can inform what figure you include in your request. You want to be sure that the increment you are asking for is reasonable and not over-the-top. Also, skim through your employee handbook to see if there is any outlined procedure to follow when asking for a pay raise in your company.

3. Conduct a self-evaluation.

Evaluate how productive you have been in the company since you joined. Keep records of important projects you have executed, targets you have reached in record time, and any other accomplishments that attracted a pat on the back from your boss. Also, make a list of extra responsibilities or tasks assigned to you that you did efficiently. Document all these, they’ll come in handy to convince your boss that you deserve the raise.

4. Compose an e-mail stating your purpose

While drafting your e-mail, focus on why you deserve the raise, not why you need the extra cash. Helping you alleviate your financial burden is not your employer’s responsibility. Include how you have been an asset to the company, and how the salary increase can motivate you to deliver more value. You are more likely to get a yes if your employer sees the pay raise as beneficial to the company as well. Close the letter with a request for a physical audience with your employer to discuss at length.

5. Request a personal meeting with your manager

When discussing your request in person, make sure to appear calm and collected. Remember to thank your employer for granting you the audience to plead your cause. Inquire if he has gone through your e-mail, and ask for feedback if he has. If he has not had the time to go through it, repeat everything you said in the mail to his hearing, and gauge his reaction. From his body language, you can tell if his response to your request will be a good one or a bad one.

Chances are he might ask for more time to consider the request and give you feedback. He might need to discuss it with his superiors, or analyze the company’s financial records to see if he can afford a raise at that moment. If that is the case, thank him for considering your offer, and politely request a date for follow-up.

However, if you receive a negative response backed up with explanations on why a raise is not quite feasible at the moment, do not throw a temper tantrum. It can feel frustrating to get a negative reply when you are fully convinced that you deserve it, but the best thing to do in that case is to thank him and ask when the raise will be feasible.

If you get a positive response, maintain your composure and thank him professionally. Make sure to remain committed to your job even after receiving the raise. If your employer notices that your efforts have reduced after getting the raise, it might make him regret it and stop other incentives from coming to you.

What You Should not do When Asking for a Raise

  • Do not brag about your achievements. As much as possible be polite and humble when communicating why you deserve the raise.
  • Try not to highlight personal issues as the reason for your request. Even if you feel overworked and overpaid, stating that as the reason for your request will not get you a yes. No employer wants to be told that they are a bad boss.
  • Don’t falsify achievements or exaggerate your accomplishments. Be honest and give credit to the rest of the team where due. Saying “my team and I” gives credit to your tea, and still leaves you in the spotlight.
  • Try not to be excessively modest. Stay away from expressions like: “ I believe I was able to…” and “I think…” when stating your accomplishments. Such statements make you sound unsure of yourself. Make powerful statements with confidence.

Pro Tips

  • Be confident when asking for a raise. The worse thing that could happen is that you get a negative reply, your employer is not going to fire you for having the audacity.
  • If you get a negative response, wait a year and try again.
  • You can try asking for other benefits like some time off if you got a negative reply yet genuinely feel overworked and underpaid.
  • If you get a positive response, don’t go broadcasting it to the rest of the team. It might come across as you bragging, or it might inspire everybody else to try their luck as well. Your boss won’t be too happy if everyone barged into his office demanding a raise.

Asking for a raise is never easy, and the fear of rejection is what makes a lot of employees hold back. But you never until you try; the company might have been considering it as well. Follow the guidelines shared in this article and make that request today. I hope you get it!

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