Get Paid What You Deserve: Asking For A Raise

Did you know that that this is the time of year when most employers start considering what raises and bonuses they will be giving their staff?

Unfortunately, if you check google analytics it is during the month of March that people are researching how to ask for a raise. Usually by March most employers have made their decisions about which staff will receive which increments and which will get what bonuses.  It should come as no surprise then that by the time April comes around we begin to google job dissatisfaction but by May, when our raise actually kicks in, we are googling “I hate my job”.

The fact is, by the time most people are looking to ask for an annual raise, their boss has already made his or her decision.  Sadder yet is that most people don’t bother to negotiate a raise for their work. These people (and this is most of the population) simply accept what they are given for a raise.  There is nothing wrong with this by the way.  Sometimes we get exactly what we deserve or we get what the company can afford.  Although, in either case, I recommend trying to negotiate a raise once every couple of years just to keep in good practice and also to ensure your boss knows you are still engaged.  If you can relate to any of the above then this Confident Career Tip is for you!



Know your timing – this sounds trivial but it’s imperative.  Ask your Human Resource department or your boss when the annual review cycle takes place, then ask them if this is also when they consider annual increases.

Confident Career Super Tip: Use the words “annual increase” instead of “raise” if you want to avoid you or your boss shrinking into their chair or feel they have to avoid you.

Take stock – this is about knowing where you sit in your organization and your industry.  Here are the questions you should answer:

  • What do you currently make?
  • When was your last raise?
  • What is the market value for your position in your industry and city?
  • Did you set and achieve your KPIs (workplace goals as set out by the organization and your boss)?
  • Did you have regular reviews?
  • Were there any surprises?
  • How did the last three months go? – Yes they should look at the whole year; however, it is the last few months, sometimes weeks, that will be most clear in your bosses mind.

Set your number – based on what you have answered above, if you were absolutely honest to the best of your knowledge you should be able to come up with a reasonable number that you’d like to start making.

Ask for the raise – this is the tough part for most people because most of us are scared to ask for a raise.  Here is a script and timeline you can adapt to ask for a raise.  Remember, this is only one way, you should adapt this to fit your situation.  I would approach this in a very casual way at first, maybe just while passing your bosses office you might say:

“Hi Janine, I was hoping to chat with you about doing my annual review in the next few days.”

When you get the green light go ahead and schedule the review; feel free to send an agenda in advance stating the following:

“Janine, thank you for agreeing to do my annual review this week.  I’d like to send a tentative agenda to ensure we have enough time to discuss everything.  Outside of doing the standard review about my KPIs I’d also like to discuss how the company determines our salaries as well as share to share my compensation goals with you.  Finally, I’d like to discuss what your goals are within our organization and how I can best support you in your role.”

You can see by following this agenda you are not only clear but it’s not just about asking for money.  You are going to talk to her about four things:

  • Your performance
  • How the compensation assignment works in the company
  • Tell your boss what your number is, this is where you need to ask them two questions

Is this a possibility in our company?

What do you need to see for me to get to this level?

  • Ask about her goals, what does she want to accomplish? REMEMBER:  You must end with this, no matter what happens with the other parts… you need to know this information and it leaves the conversation on a high point for your boss.

When asking for the raise you can use a statement like this:

“Now is the part of our conversation where I’d like to share my compensation goals with you.  Specifically, I’d like to discuss my personal goal with my annual increase.  At some point I would like to see my salary go from 62,000 to 75,000.  Can you tell me, is this a possibility in our company? If so, what do you need to see for me to get to this level?”

By this point lots of people are saying, “I could never do that!”  People are so afraid of feeling uncomfortable, especially when it comes to their own worth.  But look at the evidence you have gathered by taking stock.  Also, when you look at the above statement you can see that we haven’t actually asked for a raise, have we?  Instead we have simply made it clear that at “some point” we’d like to make that amount.  This should take the pressure off you and your boss when you are having this discussion.

Don’t get discouraged – you may not hear what you want to hear. Do not get discouraged.  You have put the bug in your bosses ear. Let them digest it a bit and see where you end up.  In one case I did have a boss tell me “you will never make that here, not in this department, not in this company.”  While this can be tough to hear, it’s actually a huge blessing in disguise.  When you hear this from your boss it’s a good sign that you either need to accept where you are at, find something better, or disagree with them and keep trying to influence your current situation.

Your boss may even be so bold to laugh and say “I don’t even make that much.”  You can simply respond with: “I’m sorry to hear that Janine, I think you certainly deserve that much; however, I’m wondering if you could still answer my question about what you would need to see for me to see an increase to that level?” Or, if you are particularly brave, you can response with: “I’m sorry to hear that; however, this is where I’d like to see myself and what you make is really none of my business.  Can you tell me what the organization would need to see from me to get to this level?”

A few final tips – remember, sometimes bosses will give you the annual review and your raise at the same time.  In my books this is a no-no but it happens all the time, this is why now is the time to get your ducks in a row.  Also you may not even have an annual review and just get a letter, notice, or conversation that you have received a raise; again, this further’s the point that knowing the timeline of annual increases is in your best interests.