How to Request a Raise

You probably think you deserve a raise. But does your boss think so? Find out how to request a raise so that you don't irritate your employer. ;)

Here's how to go about convincing your boss that you're really worth more than you're being paid.

First, you must realize that doing a great job is NOT a good enough reason to justify a raise. Your employer EXPECTS you to do a great job. Your performance must be "over and above" what other employees in similar positions are doing. And you can't rely on your boss to recognize your true worth without help from you. If you don't ask for one, you may never get a raise.

So here's what you do. First, make a list of your specific accomplishments that EXCEED the job you were hired to do. Make your list as specific as possible. Provide a detailed record of how you've beaten goals, taken on additional responsibilities, and contributed to the organization's success in ways that were significant.

Second, do some research, perhaps at a site like Find out what others in similar positions at other companies are making. If it's more, you definitely want to have this information to back up your request. (If it's less, don't mention it and be satisfied with what you're earning!)

When you have your ammunition ready, wait for the right time to ask your boss if you can talk with him about your performance. Timing is critical! You want to talk to him when he's in a GOOD MOOD. If he's in a bad mood, distracted by work problems, or otherwise not very approachable, WAIT. It doesn't matter how eager you are to request a raise. If your boss is not in a good mood, you'll just be wasting your time.

Once you've determined the timing is right, tell your boss that you would appreciate his considering giving you a raise, based on your "above and beyond" performance. Say you've taken the liberty of writing out your accomplishments for his easy reference, and give him your list. Then mention (if appropriate) what employees in similar positions are earning at other companies, and give him the data to back it up.

Do not mention a specific salary figure that you'd like to earn. This is the beginning of a negotiation process, and your first step is to convince your boss that your request deserves consideration. Once you pass that hurdle, be prepared to suggest a RANGE, such as a 3-5% increase.

If you've presented a good case and you know from your research that you are worth more than you are being paid, chance are good that you'll obtain your raise. But it depends on many factors, least of which may be your boss's desire to keep you on his staff. He may agree that you deserve a raise and desperately want to give it to you, but this may not be a decision he has the authority to make. Plus the company's budget is another important factor. Depending on how well things are going, there simply may not be enough in the coffers to pay you what you're worth.

If for whatever reason you are unsuccessful in obtaining a raise, you'll need to decide what your next step should be. If you love your job, you may be willing to continue working there. If not, be prepared to start looking elsewhere if a higher salary is your top priority.

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