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Can Asking for a Raise Actually Work for You?

01 November 2022

Can you ever ask for a raise? It's something that we have all wondered about at some point in our careers. After all, it seems like an unfair world when your hard work isn't always rewarded with financial benefits. However, it's also a tough question to answer because the answer is different for everyone and every company. Of course, that doesn't mean you should never ask for a raise.

Consider your unique circumstances and what is important to you. If you think asking for a raise will help advance your career or provide other personal benefits, then it might just be worth pursuing as an option. The trick is figuring out how to do so in a way that won't completely blow back on you if you get turned down. Here are some strategies to consider before asking for a raise.

Be Sure You're Ready to Have the Conversation

One of the first things you should do before you ask for a raise is to be sure you're ready for the conversation. Raises come with expectations and pressures, so you want to be sure you have the mental and emotional capacity to handle whatever happens next. For example, if your boss turns down your request for a raise, you may feel embarrassed or frustrated. These are normal feelings, but they can impact your productivity and overall happiness at work. Knowing what you want and how you want to approach the conversation can help you mitigate any negative feelings that come with it.

Similarly, if you get a raise but don't feel like you earned it, then your mental state at work is likely to suffer. For example, if you feel like you're always asking for a raise and get turned down, or if your colleagues are getting more than you, that can create some serious resentment. You don't want to get to the point where you're always resentful or frustrated at work. Be sure you're ready for this conversation before you have it.

Determine Your Value Before Asking

One of the first steps toward asking for a raise is to determine your value. Are you confident that you're worth more than you're currently making? If so, you'll have a lot more confidence in the conversation. Asking for a raise is a negotiation. To increase your chances of getting a positive result, you want to be confident in your position. That means knowing the value you bring to the table and being able to clearly communicate that to your boss.

For example, if you work in sales and want a raise because the average salary is $70,000 per year, but you make $55,000 per year, you can say, "I bring in $50,000 annually in new revenue. I know that the average salesperson makes $70,000 per year, so I think it's fair that I should get a raise to meet that average."

Check in With Your Boss Before Asking

Before you actually ask for a raise, you should check in with your boss to see if now a good time is to have the conversation. One approach is to say something like, "I've been doing some research and I think I'm worth more than I'm currently making. Is this a good time to have the conversation?" This is a nice way of checking in without directly asking for a raise.

However, if your boss is probably going to say "no" or doesn't think it's a good time, you can use this opportunity to open up the conversation in a non-confrontational way. Maybe you can say, "I've been doing some research and I think that $50,000 a year is a fair salary for my position. Is this a good time to have the conversation?" Asking for a raise is a big deal, so you don't want to come out of the blue and completely blindside your boss. Instead, you want to give your boss the opportunity to show you that now isn't a good time. That way, the conversation can remain productive and professional.

Network with Colleagues to See What's Possible

Another way to determine what you're worth and what you should be asking for is to network with colleagues who are in a similar position to you. You can ask them how much they make and if they've ever asked for a raise before. You can also ask if they know anyone else who works in the industry and has experience asking for a raise. This can be a tricky conversation, but one way to make it easier is to say something like, "Hey, I'm just curious. What do you guys make around here? Have you ever asked for a raise before?"

You don't want to come across as nosy or ungrateful for your current salary. However, you also want to make sure that you're being compensated for the work you do. Having this information can help you decide whether now is the right time to ask for a raise.

Ask, but Be Prepared for a No

Now we come to the actual asking part of this article. You've determined your value, you've checked in with your boss, and you've networked with colleagues to get a sense of what's possible. Now you're ready to ask for a raise. One important thing to note is that you should always be prepared for a "no" when asking for a raise. Remember that you don't control your boss's reaction and that they might turn you down.

Even if you've done everything right and feel confident that you're deserving of a raise, it doesn't mean that your boss will agree. That said, there are a few ways to improve your chances of getting a yes when you ask for a raise. First, make sure that you're in a calm and collected state of mind. You want to be assertive and confident, but you don't want to come across as aggressive or demanding. You also want to make sure that you're asking at the right time. For example, if you're near the end of your annual review or if there is a big project that you need additional funds for, ask for a raise then.

Asking for a raise is a great way to increase your salary and make your financial situation more comfortable. However, you want to make sure that you're prepared before having the conversation so that you don't get rejected. One way to do this is to determine your value, check in with your boss, and network with colleagues to see what's possible. Once you're ready, you can confidently ask for a raise and hopefully get what you're after.