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Thinking of asking for a raise? You’re probably feeling apprehensive and this is normal: talking about money is still taboo, and many of us feel uneasy about salary negotiation. The only way to overcome those nerves is to prepare, prepare, and PREPARE some more! Learn when and how to ask for a raise, then build a strategy that will help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Even if your manager says no, you’re not likely to damage your relationship by making a reasonable request. A raise is recognition that you’re contributing at a higher level than when your salary was last set. A raise isn’t a favor or a gift; it’s a way for employers to pay fair market value for your work and to keep you around — because otherwise, you’re eventually going to want to find a different job that does pay you competitively.


First, know it’s OK to ask. You’re not greedy or entitled by wanting a raise. Assuming your manager is reasonable or has experience managing people, they know this is a normal process. Unless you work somewhere truly dysfunctional, it’s understood that you work for money and over time will need more.

How good are you at your job? Make yourself indispensable. If you’ve been making a lot of mistakes or your boss hasn’t seemed pleased with your work, a request for a raise isn’t likely to go over well, and you risk more open questions about your performance. Make sure you’re ready for negotiations well in advance. Tie up loose ends, unfinished projects, and tasks you’ve put on hold. What has changed in your position description since your last review? Have you gained new responsibilities or more duties? Have you acquired new skills that are relevant to the job?

Know your worth. If you don’t know what the market rate is for your work, find that out before you ask for more money. Look at different job descriptions similar to yours, talk to recruiters in your field, and connect with others in your industry to ask about the standard range for your position.

Proactively communicate wins. The most important thing you can do is to consistently exceed expectations in terms of your current role and job responsibilities. Manage your projects well, take on more than is expected, and proactively communicate your accomplishments. When you are ready to request for a promotion, your manager will already know you deserve what you’re asking for. As Muhammed Ali said, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.” Share your successes early and often.

Consider your company’s salary structure. Once you have a good idea of the going rate for your work, factor in your understanding of your own employer’s salary structure, too. It’s useful to know how your company generally handles raises so you can create a reasonable action plan.

Choose your timing. Generally speaking, if it’s been a year or more since your salary was last set and if you’ve been doing excellent work during that time, it’s reasonable to ask to revisit your pay. If your salary was already increased sometime in the last 12 months or if you haven’t been in the position for a year, then expecting a salary increase isn’t realistic — unless the job turned out to be wildly different than what was discussed when you were hired.


Practice your pitch. You can never anticipate the precise nature of the exchange, but conversations in which you are asking for something always go better if you've rehearsed in advance and considered the many possible responses. After practicing, you’ll be infinitely more at ease for your side of the actual conversation.

Share your goals and ask for feedback. Let your boss know that, while your first priority is to excel in your current role, your long-term goal is to advance and that you want to make sure you're doing everything you can to set yourself up for success.

Talk about the future. Show you’re invested in the company. Start the conversation on a positive note and explain how much you like working for your manager and the company. Then explain what you want to do in the future and how you plan to contribute to the organization’s growth.

Outline why you’ve earned a raise. Illustrate that your responsibilities and/or the level of your contributions have increased. Think about the quantifiable workplace results and certified qualifications you can bring to the table. These include training and qualifications, anything awarded by industry bodies like the CIPD or by academic institutions, high sales figures, new clients won or financial savings gained, and any new software, systems, or management structures you helped introduce.

Highlight your market value. Demonstrate any specifics about your industry, region, or job that make you hard to replace. These can enhance your market value. Consider the realities of market demand: if you work in hospitality, information, and communications or construction in particular, these fields currently face major skills shortages, which means your employer will be keen to keep you — and keep you happy.

Industry reputation. Show your boss that you are respected in your fi