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How to Ask for a Raise: Do These 3 Things

Topics: Negotiation
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Over half of respondents to PayScale’s survey said that they’d never negotiated salary in their current role. That’s too bad, because 75 percent of those who did ask received some sort of pay increase. When it comes to how to ask for a raise, if you don’t ask, you (probably) won’t get.

Of course, asking for more money is uncomfortable. If you struggled during the recession, as many workers did, you might be reluctant to rock the boat. Even if you’re willing to negotiate, it’s hard to know where to start. How can you increase your chances of getting a pay raise — without making the boss mad?

It all comes down to data. Build your case based on research, not hearsay or appeals to emotion. Focus on what your skills and experience are worth to employers, and it’ll be easier to negotiate for an appropriate salary.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Here’s how to ask for a raise:

1. Take PayScale’s Salary Survey.

What salary would your employer have to pay for your replacement, if you found a new job tomorrow? Don’t guess — get the facts.

PayScale’s Salary Survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete and generates a free salary report with a pay snapshot of similar roles at similar companies in your area. See where you fall in the salary range, and get a better idea of what constitutes a reasonable pay increase.

2. Research your company.

How’s your employer doing, financially? If the answer is so-so, you’re probably not going to have much luck on the raise front.

As a current employee, you have one advantage over a prospective hire, and that’s access to information. Keep your ear to the ground, and watch for signs that the company is doing well — or having trouble.

What does a company in trouble look like? Well, unpaid bills are one bad sign. Changes in company direction or a lot of turnover in leadership are red flags, as well.

3. Put yourself in your boss’s shoes.

To make your salary conversation a productive one for both parties, you have to give your boss the opportunity to meet you halfway. That means giving her a heads up, so that she can come to the discussion prepared.

In short, don’t sandbag your boss with a surprise request. Ask for a meeting specifically to discuss compensation, and do so at a time when budgets are more likely to be open. Then, come to the meeting in a collaborative — not confrontational — frame of mind.

Remember: it’s in everyone’s best interests for you to be compensated appropriately. Your boss is your negotiating partner, not your adversary.

Tell Us What You Think

What are your best tips for negotiating a raise? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.