Effectively Asking For A Raise: Do's And Don'ts

Asking for a raise can be a daunting task, akin to asking your crush to prom (we all remember the butterflies and the shaky hands, right?). But just like asking your crush to prom, sometimes you just gotta go for it, otherwise, you'll be stuck with a subpar corsage and a subpar salary.

While often nerve-wracking, it's an important step in ensuring that you are being compensated fairly for your hard work. However, the way you ask for a raise can make all the difference in whether or not you are successful.

Fear not, we’re here to help.

We'll go over some common mistakes people make when asking for a raise, as well as tips for how to ask for a raise in a way that increases your chances of success.

First, let’s talk about the mistakes to avoid when asking for a raise.

1. Asking for a raise without any evidence of your value to the company.

Your employer will want to know that you are an asset to the company and that your contributions justify a raise. Make sure to come prepared with examples of your accomplishments and how they have benefited the company.

2. Being vague or unclear about the amount you are requesting.

Have a specific number in mind when you ask for a raise, and be able to explain why you believe that amount is fair. Being vague or asking for a "raise" without specifying an amount can make it seem like you haven't thought through your request.

3. Being confrontational or demanding

It's important to approach the conversation about a raise in a professional and respectful manner. Avoid being confrontational or making demands – the goal is to work with your employer, not corner them.

All in all, it’s important to remember that, chances are, if you’re asking for a raise, you want to stay at the company. If that’s the case, you want to make sure you’re not damaging the relationship you have with your employer in the process.

Ok now let’s get to the meat and potatoes.

Our top tips for what to do when considering asking for a raise.

1. Collect information from day one

A major factor in asking for a raise is highlighting the value you bring to the company. While we’re sure your employer trusts and values your contributions, it’s still important to present specific examples of your achievements and how they’ve positively impacted the company. This way, you’ll be able to make a strong and clear case for why you deserve a raise.

Our tip? Don’t wait until you’re wanting a raise to start collecting this. Consider making a folder on your computer and archiving different things that you feel highlight your hard work and the value you bring to the team. Whether it’s an email a client sent you thanking you for going above and beyond, or statistics from a campaign you ran – it’ll make it all the easier to show your impact.

2. Self-evaluate

This should be step one when you start to feel as though it’s time for a raise. It’s important to step back and look at where you are in your career, as well as where you want to get to. Are you overperforming for your salary? Are you sacrificing work goals for financial burdens? Are you bringing clear and definitive value to the team that deserves more than your current compensation?

These are all important questions not just in regards to the asking-for-a-raise conversation, but also as that conversation often coincides with a desire to take bigger leaps in your career. Reflect on your growth and where you’re going.

3. Know what you’re asking for

This one is huge in our books. Before asking for a raise, it’s important to know exactlly what you’re asking for. That can apply to multiple factors in your career.

One thing to nail down is whether are you asking for a raise and/or a change in your position. I.e. a promotion, title change, or leadership position? If so, it’s important to make sure that’s actually what you want. A raise doesn’t always require a change to your position, and a change to your position doesn’t always require a raise.

Second, how much are you asking for? A foolproof way to fail at the raise conversation is being vague or unclear about the amount you are asking for. Your employer of course wants to see you financially stable and successful, but they want to know that you have thought through your request and are confident in your value. Coming to the meeting without a solid number can make it seem like you haven’t given it much thought.

4. Communication

And finally, it’s all about communication. You’ll likely be speaking with a team lead or HR Representative in this conversation. It’s important to approach it in a professional and respectful manner. Your colleagues are people just like you, and they want to support you – but we can all agree it’s easier to support someone who is friendly, professional and courteous.

Come prepared for your meeting, know how you’d like to present your request, and go into it with a collaborative mentality rather than a demanding one.

Final thoughts

Asking for a raise is a normal aspect of any career journey, and it is important to remember that employers are well aware of this fact. In fact, they likely go through this process regularly with their other employees. This means that they are familiar with the process and are often more than willing to support their employees' needs and goals through a raise.

By avoiding common mistakes, approaching the conversation professionally, and being open to negotiation, you will be able to make a strong case for yourself and increase your chances of getting that salary increase that you’re looking for.

Looking to join a team that encourages career growth? We're hiring.


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    Want to peek into our daily work? Our coaches recount real world situations shared as learning opportunities to build soft skills. We share frameworks, podcasts and thinking tools for sr software developers.