Top Ten Ways to Ask for a Salary Increase

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Posted on December 28th, 2007

Let’s state the facts: you’ve been working for the same company for a number of years now, where you arrive at the office an hour early and you work overtime just to make sure that you meet your deadlines. You impress the clients with your excellent presentations, you achieve and even exceed their expectations and almost every month you get recognized for your excellent performance at work. If there ever was an Employee of the Month award, you’d be a shoo-in for it.

Well, clearly you deserve a salary increase! In fact, it’s long overdue. But what do you do if you’ve been sitting in your office cubicle, waiting for a raise, but your boss remains oblivious to this tiny detail? It’s time to ask for a raise.

Asking for a raise may seem like the hardest part of your professional career. How do you segue to a compensation increase when the boss is talking about company cost cutting? Or how can you talk to your boss when he or she is angry with a delinquent employee? Of course, you wouldn’t want to turn off your boss by making him or her think that you are only after financial gain.

Although this task may be more difficult than facing that terrible client, you have to be realistic, and the reality is there are bills to pay and you need financial motivation for work. So instead of reading the tarot cards to predict when your boss is going to give you that increase, plan your steps of action and make it happen.

Here are the top ten sure-fire tips for asking for a salary increase.

10. Determine How Big an Increase You Want.

Salary Increase
The Dollar sign on his mind

This is the first step in asking for a raise. Before you step into your boss’ office, make sure that you already have an idea of how much of a raise you need.

When doing the calculations in your head, remember to be fair. Remember that your salary increase must still fall in the range of compensation given to employees of your position, the length of service time to your company or tenure, and the experience and expertise you bring to the job.

One way to find a fair increase rate is to use a salary calculator to help you determine your range. You can also ask other fellow veteran employees about the policies and salary raise figures.

9. Make a Portfolio of Accomplishments, Awards and Tangible Contributions Made to the Company.

Presenting her portfolio to her boss

Arm yourself with a list that can back up your request. You can’t just expect your boss to give you a raise for no good reason. Thus, it is important that you convince him or her by presenting your worth to the company.

This means that you have to make a list of noteworthy achievements. Achievements can include constantly exceeding the required quota, successfully closing important deals and even troubleshooting department or company dilemmas. Got that employee of the month award five consecutive times? Then put it on the list!

8. Prepare a Polished Argument.

Prepared Woman
Preparing to meet her boss

Do you remember how you tried to convince your employer to hire you when you were still being interviewed for this job? Remember how you tried to raise your good characteristics in order to get the position? Well, asking for a salary raise is similar. Prepare a convincing argument and give your boss the important points of why you need and deserve a raise.

Always remember that although you have a list of accomplishments, a good argument can get you those extra figures on your pay check!

7. Evaluate Your Company’s Financial Status.

Financial Status
Reviewing their Financial Status

Checking your company’s financial health is very important. In fact, it is one of the factors that will determine if you will get a raise or not. If your company is currently going through financial crises or if they are practicing some cost cutting measures, it is very likely that your request for an increase will not be approved.

However, there are some cases in which you are given a raise but the amount that you’ve applied for is not approved. In such instances, you must try to be realistic and weigh the pros and cons. It will be helpful to ask yourself questions such as “Is the amount enough?” or “Am I willing to wait until the company’s situation improves?”

6. Know the Company Policies.

Company Policy
Reading the Company handbook

Every company has a policy when it comes to salary increases and it is essential that you play by the rules.

This means that although your boss already agreed to give you a raise, you must still abide by the company process, which may include waiting another month or two or submitting several documents to the appropriate department that will process the change of compensation plan.

5. Devise a Plan B.

Plan B
Thinking for a Plan B

Plan B is the contingency plan. This means that you have to be prepared in case you fail to get that desired raise.

Does that mean that you will quit your job, or will you wait for another opportunity for increase? Whatever it is, always remember to set your priorities and make sure that these can help you further your dream.

4. Evaluate Your Boss’ Mood.

Boss mood
Not in the good mood

When it comes to asking for a raise, always remember that timing is everything. This means that you also have to know the right time to ask your boss for that increase.

How do you think your boss would react if you asked for a raise when he or she is arguing with another member of your department? Well, it is highly likely that you will get kicked out of the office and your boss will think that you are insensitive! You wouldn’t want that to happen, would you?

Therefore, make sure that your boss is in a good mood. This can be after closing a big deal or when your department achieved its set sales target. Whatever it is, just make sure that your boss is smiling when you enter his or her office.

3. Treat Your Boss to Lunch.

Treat the Boss
Discussing company matters

After preparing your list and argument, it’s time that you get closer to the boss. A little sucking up won’t hurt, as long as you do it subtly! For instance, if you and your boss went for lunch with a client, make sure that you get the restaurant bill and insist that you pay for it, or after a meeting, offer to treat your boss to some drinks. Just make sure that you talk about trivial things and avoid discussing work. This tactic can help set a rapport between you and your boss.

2. Set an Appointment.

checking schedules
Logging her schedules

Now it’s time that you set that appointment with your boss. Go to his or her secretary and check the best time to talk. Make sure that you look for a schedule that will allow you enough time to talk with your boss, one on one.

1. Be Flexible.

Handshaking with the boss

It is possible that your boss will offer you something in lieu of a salary increase. This may be in the form of extra vacation leave, a higher position or even additional perks. Assess the offer and negotiate.

If you’ve been working hard and you’ve given your company 100% effort, professionalism and work ethic, then you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for a raise. Companies reward their best employees, and one of the ways they do it is through a salary increase. So go ahead and ask: you’ll never know if you don’t try.

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