Asking for a Raise Without Losing Sleep Over It

Asking for a raise may be a little difficult, but it is oftentimes necessary. Many employees are afraid to ask for a raise because they mistakenly believe that their bosses may get upset at their requests.

However, while you do not have to worry about looking entitled during this request, you do have to make sure that you are asking for a pay increase at the right time or in the correct way. As such, requesting a raise is not something you want to do spontaneously.

It is not uncommon for workers to spend at least a week or two crafting such a request. Furthermore, it is during this preparation phase that you may worry about the “big ask.” Whenever possible, you want to avoid making too many requests regarding a pay increase within a short period of time. While you cannot technically get into trouble, your boss or supervisor may become agitated with the repeated requests, which will decrease your overall leverage to actually get a raise. Regardless of where you work, there are general tips you must follow in order to make this process easier and improve your chances of getting a raise. Follow the steps listed below in order to prepare for the day you make this request.

When to Ask for a Raise

Whether your raise succeeds or fails may depend entirely on when you make the request. When you are preparing to ask for a raise, there are many timing factors to take into consideration. Some of the factors improve your chances of success, while others make it much harder to get a raise.

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One of the ways to greatly improve the odds of getting a raise is to ask right after you achieve a major career accomplishment. If you complete a large project or score a deal with a new client, you may be able to leverage your success into receiving a raise. In these situations, your manager knows firsthand how valuable you are to the company, and you know that the company has an influx of money coming in.

Another good time to ask for a raise is right after an annual review policy. Some companies have multiple reviews each year, while other companies use them sparingly. Waiting until a review period improves your odds because it gives your manager a chance to see how much you have done for the company. However, the downside to this method is that other employees may wait until their annual reviews to request a raise as well.

When to Avoid Asking for a Raise

There are some specific times where you want to avoid asking for a pay increase. If you know that your company has recently incurred a large expense, such as hiring new employees or opening a new branch, it is unlikely that your company can afford to offer you a raise. If someone else has recently received a raise, there is a chance that your company cannot provide you one immediately after. However, these factors may vary depending on the overall size of your company.

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If your manager is in the middle of a difficult project, it is not advisable to ask for a raise. Not only is your manager more likely to be stressed during this time, he or she is also probably too busy to process your request. Similarly, you do not want to ask for a raise if you are in the middle of a big project. Typically, your manager requests a meeting to review your request. Thus, if you are too focused on another project, it is difficult to make a reasonable case for your pay increase. Instead, it may even make it seem like you are more concerned with your money as opposed to the project you are currently working.

Finally, you do not want to make your request if you recently received a raise or are still relatively new to the company. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least a year before asking for a pay increase. If you recently started working at a company, check with your manager or human resources department to see if salary reviews are offered. Overall, salary reviews are generally tied to performance reviews, which are based on your personal career development. Therefore, if you want a raise, you need to be a proactive employee. Even if your company recognizes that you deserve a raise, your manager may wait for you to make a formal request before issuing you the increase.

How to Prepare Your Case

No matter how valuable you are to a company, you are typically expected to pitch a case for why you deserve a raise. One of the first steps to prepare your case is to look at how much other employees in your field are making. If you are making significantly less, make sure to point this out to your manager. Moreover, you should mention all of your achievements with the company, such as important projects you have completed or extra responsibilities you have accepted. Be sure to point out instances when you efficiently saved the company money. Furthermore, try to focus on the reasons why you deserve a raise rather than personal reasons why you need to receive a pay increase.

While you are preparing your case, you want to include a timetable for your raise. Managers are rarely able to comply with your request on the spot. Therefore, you should take the initiative and schedule an appointment where you and your supervisor can follow up on your request. While you need to be insistent with your request for a pay increase, make sure that your tone does not become hostile. A common mistake employees make is framing their request for a raise as an ultimatum, implying that they plan to leave their jobs if their request is not met. Managers do not like being challenged, and even if they grant you a raise, you may come off as caring more about your personal gain than about the company as a whole.

As part of your preparation, you should plan for what happens if your manager says no. If the initial amount you requested is too high, be prepared to negotiate for a lower amount. If your manager insists that now is not the time for a raise, request a performance appraisal sometime in the future to further discuss the pay increase. During this time, you can ask for additional responsibilities or find other ways to prove your value to the company, increasing your odds of receiving a raise once you have your next meeting.

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