Career Advice

How To Ask For A Raise

by CareerFitter

How To Ask For A Raise

Being adequately compensated for the job you do is the primary reason you get out of bed each morning and go to work. The amount of effort you put in and your level of productivity is often directly related to the amount of money you make. While most employers strive to implement a fair and equitable pay structure, it's not uncommon to feel that you should be earning more than you currently do.

Whether your skill set has improved, your level of knowledge has increased, or you have taken on more advanced job duties, asking for a raise may be necessary. It is a simple and easy way to increase your income and get paid appropriately for your work.

Unfortunately, asking for a raise can be a scary prospect. Most people get nervous just thinking about it, let alone finding an appropriate opportunity to make the request. Luckily, employers are used to receiving these requests regularly, and while it may not be something you usually have to do, it is something your employers deal with all the time. If you work hard, adhere to the requirements set forth by your employer, and deliver results, asking for, and receiving a pay increase is simple. 

Is It Normal to Ask for a Raise?

Raising salaries is such a common practice that companies and corporations of all sizes have designated budgets for raises. To put it in perspective, 71% of businesses surveyed by Mercer Intelligence indicated that their salary increase budgets had either remained steady or increased over the last few years. Salary increase budgets are at their highest since 2008, with the average company investing almost 4% of its funds into this area. It's important to understand that this hasn't balanced out inflation, but businesses are trying to mitigate its impact.  

In other words, businesses prepare ahead of time to award pay raises for deserving employees within their organization.

Asking for a raise is an entirely ordinary course of action and is actually something that most employers expect from their workers.

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When Should You Ask for a Raise?

One of the biggest hurdles you'll face when asking for a raise is determining the perfect moment to make the request. Getting a pay raise isn't usually a priority when you start a new job. But, most people aren't sure how long they should wait to ask for a pay increase.

While every industry is different, a few common factors can help you determine when the best time is to ask for a raise.

● Company Performance

For starters, you should make sure that your company is not going through a rough period in terms of financial performance. This should be relatively easy to figure out based on the production of the internal team like the sales or marketing departments. 

This point goes both ways, so if you just had a significant impact by improving relationships with an important client, helping boost performance across the board, or similar action, it can be the perfect time to ask for a raise.

● The Longevity Factor

The longevity factor refers to how long you've been a company's team member. As a rule of thumb, you should wait between 12 and 18 months after you enter the company to request a raise, assuming that all other factors align (performance, attendance, and so on).

You should also wait at least 12 months between salary bump requests, as it's unlikely you'll receive more than one within that time frame. 

With all that said, remember that some elements influence how long you should wait. For example, if you're inadvertently given more responsibilities or suggest a change that improves the whole company, you may have grounds to request a pay raise earlier than anticipated.

● Raise and Budget Cycles

Some businesses review employee performance on a yearly schedule. If you look for the signs, you may be able to figure out how the cycles work, in which case, you should use this to your advantage and request your raise at this time. Don't be afraid to initiate the conversation and tell your boss about your plans to request a raise a month or two before you plan to ask. This will help bring attention to your request and potentially alter the way decisions are made during the current or next cycle.

Things You Should Avoid When Asking For A Raise

As with any other professional request, you need to portray the right image while asking for a raise and avoid doing things that will reduce your chances of success. 

Here are the top five things you should avoid when you ask for a raise:

● Focusing on Personal Reasons

It may sound cliche, but everyone faces tough challenges in their personal lives. In a work environment, discussing profound personal matters may be deemed as unprofessional, and you should assume the same while you ask for a raise. Therefore, you should avoid focusing on personal reasons, and instead focus on why you feel like you have earned a higher salary.

● Bad Timing

Timing is everything when asking for a raise. Company performance and budget cycles aside, you should evaluate the entire atmosphere in your workplace before requesting a raise.

For instance, if the company has just suffered a loss, been involved in a controversial event, or started a remodeling project, it may not be the best time to make your request.

● Taking Someone Else’s Credit

Taking someone else's credit is a huge offense in any situation, let alone in a professional setting. You should use common sense and avoid taking someone else's glory. Instead, you should praise your peers and show managers that you can motivate other employees to succeed.

● Making Numbers Look Better Than They Are

Similarly to taking credit for others' work, you should avoid forging numbers or making statistics seem better by portraying them from a "creative" angle. Not only will this impair your ability to get a raise, but it could also get you fired.

● Selling Yourself Short

This issue is prevalent, especially with employees that feel nervous about asking for a raise. While you shouldn't mislead your superiors, you have to give yourself the credit you deserve and ensure that administrators see the value in your work. Be proud of your accomplishments!

Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting a Raise

The primary factor contributing to receiving a raise will be whether you have put in the required effort and work to earn the requested pay increase. However, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that your managers acknowledge your value as an employee and boost your chances of getting a raise in the future.

● Ask for Feedback

Start by asking your superiors for feedback. This will help you understand how your work is perceived and what you need to do to improve.

● Proactively Take on More Responsibility

If you take on more responsibilities, it'll be easier to show your supervisors what you're capable of. This also tells managers that you're willing to put in the necessary work and make sacrifices to grow with the company.

● Think About the Future and Create an Action Plan

Always think about the future of your organization. Think of different ways your company could grow in the future and what you can do to enhance this growth. Go ahead and craft an action plan, and share it with the company administrators as part of your pay bump request.

Before the Meeting

With a bit of preparation before the meeting, some helpful tips to get you through the meeting, and proper follow-up afterward, you will be sure to impress your employer and land your raise.

Many elements impact your salary, including your industry standards, company location, and level of seniority. Ensure that you study and understand each of these variables because this will help you make the best case for why you deserve a salary bump. 

Before your meeting, you should also:

● Research Similar Peers Online

Many sources compile information about specialists in all industries. Use these platforms and research similar professionals to determine what others in your field are earning. Besides giving you a good idea of the percentage bump you can request, it will also tell you whether your current employer is reaching the average salary in your area for someone of your experience. 

Not only should you look at their average earnings and work schedule expectations, but you should also pay close attention to the qualifications that your peers have. If you notice that you are overqualified for your position, you can make a stronger case of why you deserve a raise.

● Study Your Work

Like a conventional sales pitch, the more information you have at your disposal during your request, the better. Rather than relying on memory or focusing on your highlights, you should closely study your body of work within the company.

 Managers that take your request seriously will thoroughly assess your track record, and they won't be afraid to ask questions that help them understand your requests. You need to be prepared to talk about your prior achievements in detail, how you overcame the obstacles you faced, and why you thought the results would be good. The more examples you have and the more persuasive you can be, the better.

● Learn the Company’s Salary Structure

Talk to your direct supervisor about salary structures in the company. Some things you want to pay attention to are: yearly bonuses, performance-dependent rewards, and the difference between senior and entry-level team members. These details will help you make a better pitch and explain how you envision your new salary working in the context of the company structure. Showing the willingness to accept payments as periodic bonuses may help your case, increasing the company's flexibility.

During the Presentation

Next, you need to prepare for the presentation itself. You have to think about all elements of your presentation while delivering it to capture your superior's attention and convince them that you deserve a raise. Try to stay away from a long and detailed speech. Make your pitch concise, powerful, and professional.

● The Speech

When presenting your case for a raise, the key is to think about the most impactful things you want to say and find a way to back them in a relatively short time. You should always use a confident tone of voice and language that is appropriate and professional. Try to avoid humor as you don't want your managers to take your request lightly or make it seem like it's not a serious petition.

● Body Language

You transmit confidence and reassure your managers that you are the right person for the job through your body language. Avoid fidgeting, overusing hand gestures, and pacing. 

After the Meeting

It's unrealistic to expect your managers to give you an answer right away, so you need to thank them for their time and close your presentation in a professional manner. In most cases, company leaders will have to share their thoughts and come to a mutual decision. 

It may take a few days to get a verdict, so don't let the potential decision influence your work. You should be positive and hope for the best to minimize stress. 

That said, you should be prepared for both a positive and a negative answer. Try to avoid creating any expectations, and if you feel like you may not have the best reaction to a negative response, try to practice what you’d say. 

Let’s go over each scenario in a bit more detail.

● Positive Answer - You got the raise!

Getting a positive answer may come as a relief, but remember that your salary is directly correlated to the value you deliver to the company. Therefore, you should show determination and drive after getting your salary bumped to prove to your managers that they made the right decision.

● The “No” or “Maybe” Routes

If you get a "maybe" or a clear "no," then the last thing you should do is act unprofessionally. Remember, a "maybe" means that you may be awarded a raise at a later time or that your name will at least be up for consideration whenever a pay bump is on the table. 

If your manager provides you with a clear "no" answer, take it as a learning opportunity, and don't be afraid to ask what you need to do to earn your salary bump in the future.

Are You Ready to Take Control of Your Career?

Asking for a raise can be frightening, but it doesn't have to be. If you have put in the effort and deserve the pay increase, your managers will see your worth and pay you accordingly.

When searching for a career, salary is an important consideration; however, finding the right industry will ensure long-term job satisfaction. A comprehensive career test offered by CareerFitter will give you excellent insight into which industries are best suited to your individual strengths and weaknesses and determine your work personality.

If you are ready to take an in-depth look at who you are as an employee and make career changes that will have a positive and lasting impact on your future, CareerFitter is ready to help.

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