How To Ask For A Raise And Actually Get It

There comes a time at work when you start feeling like you’re worth more than what you currently make. While some just suck it up and perform higher quality work for the same amount of pay, others grab some confidence and ask for a raise.

So, if it’s that simple, why isn’t everyone just raking in the dough they deserve? Well, asking for a raise is a game of negotiation, and you have to bring something to the table that convinces your employer you’re worth the extra bucks.

Unfortunately, just doing your job well doesn’t always cut it as you were originally hired to fill that position and your current wage, in your employer’s eyes, pays for that.  Here are a few “cherries on top” you can bring to the table that will get you a little bump on the pay scale.

Dress For the Job You Want

This one has been said many times before, but it’s still very true. Even if you’re a lowly assistant, slacking on your appearance indicates that you don’t take your job seriously enough to put some polish on your look. Human beings are very visual, and employers want to see you look presentable enough for a promotion, where you may be dealing with higher up clients or participating in more important meetings.

In our digital world, it may be easy to slack off from the waist down.  But remember, even if you’re sitting in the cubicle for hours at a time, it only takes one passing glance to register that you’re not serious about moving up in the company based on your appearance alone.  Besides, looking great gives you confidence and confidence gets you a raise.

Take On Overflow Strategically

No matter what position you hold, in these times of hiring less people to do more work to save money, employers expect their employees to take on more work than they were hired to perform and judge your ability to do so as an indicator of a “team player” attitude.

This sets up a an unfair paradigm where you work your butt off helping others and often find that doing your own job is put on the back burner. This will not get you a raise.

You were hired to do your job and do it well. Keep that a priority and take on tasks to help others only if you can justify the time spent with the value you will receive when it’s time to go into your boss’ office for that raise.  If you can’t brag about making 100 copies for the file clerk last week, than it’s best they find somebody else that can.

Be Kind To People

Now this may sound odd, but being pleasant to work with is an incredibly important skill and developing it isn’t easy.  Work is stressful, especially if you are unsatisfied with the money you’re making. If you let that stress come out in unproductive ways, people (including your boss) will notice and you will work yourself into a bad position. Maintain a positive demeanor, no matter what your circumstances are outside of work or whatever your frustration may be with work. This is something you don’t need to bring to the table but rather, something that will follow you into the boss’ office come raise time. If people like to work with you, it shows your employer that you’re able to manage people under stress and managerial positions pay the big bucks.

Take Action

Don’t just aim high but take action to get there. These little tweaks can mean the difference between living paycheck to paycheck and covering your expenses with a little left over for actual, outside of the office, fun.

Have you ever asked for a raise? Did you get it? What strategies did you use?


How To Ask For A Raise And Actually Get It — 24 Comments

  1. I read that light make up for girls made you appear more professional too. I don’t really like to be judged on appearance and not my work results but if that can get me a raise, I’ll play along.

  2. One thing I like that I read before asking for it but in the sense of saying, “Hey Mr. Boss, I would like to know what I can do to get a 10% raise next year” I think this is a great way because you are asking for a certain amount with a time frame. And it gives you a chance to prove your worth to the company and plus you already have the buy in from the manager.

  3. The first point is important (and something I sometimes slack off on). However, sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the carpet with students makes me want to wear something more comfortable. 😉

    • Always ask for more.. what’s the worse answer you can get? You won’t get fired, at most you will get a action plan of how to get more 🙂

  4. My employer has half yearly “performance catchup’s”. Normally you sit in a room with your manager and tell them about all the great things you have done in the past 6 months.

    I normally take these opportunities to ask for a raise if there is something I have done which I feel is either outstanding work, or if I have saved the company considerable money.

    • Very smart. However, I would always ask for a raise regardless if I did something or not. Can’t get fired for asking.

  5. A lean workforce sometimes works in the employee’s favor. Volunteering to take on training, and thus increasing the employee’s value to the company (even a “lowly” assistant can take on training for IT skills) leads to a stronger negotiating position.

  6. Great tips!

    I have been lucky enough to get a 5-10% raise for the last 6 years straight. I don’t know how, but I dont ask questions!

    At some point, though, I think they wont be able to do that year after year.

    • Ask and you shall receive. I wouldn’t ask questions or assume the company can’t give you a raise. I would always ask for one and let them tell me no.

  7. I recently spoke to a woman about asking for a raise. I carefully reminded her to be strategic. She wanted to tell them she wasn’t being challenged enough in her role. I said if you tell them this they will overwhelm you with more work and not pay you more because you weren’t challenged. I further explained to her that her underline theme is that she would like a more challenging position with a higher pay to go along with it. She needed to be very clear with what she is requesting so their is no misunderstanding. Make sure to highlight the value and accomplishments she has brought to the company. At least, that’s a start for her.

    Great tips!

    • I wouldn’t use language like “I’m not challenged” I would definitely ask for a more demanding position that paid more.

  8. I’m thinking about asking for a raise since I’ve been managing a guy who is a level above me and makes more than me haha. Honestly, I’m fine with my pay level, but I feel obligated to ask since they put me in charge of this guy.

  9. I’ve always found that presenting my recent accomplishments is the best way to get a raise. I’ve also found that aiming high (asking for 10% when you’re only after 5%) is a good tactic – when your boss compromises to a lower number, you’re still getting what you want!

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