Do’s and Don’ts of Asking for a Raise

Feeling overworked and underpaid…or simply underpaid? Think others are making more for the same job? Your feelings and thoughts might be right on the money. But in order to get the compensation you rightfully deserve, you need to know the facts and how to present them to your employer. Asking for a raise is a big “to-do,” which makes most people nervous. Bringing a “can-do” attitude and not becoming overwhelmed are two keys to getting positive results. Here are six tips to help make your next raise conversation successful.

DO Your Research

Know your worth. Get an idea of your value before you ask for a raise. Learn as much as you can about salaries at the company, at the competition, on the market, and in your area. Websites such as or can give you salary ranges for positions comparable to yours or for specific jobs at specific companies. By gathering this data, you’ll be able to present a compelling case to negotiate fair compensation based on the industry. This will also help you set your request for a reasonable amount.

DO Prove Your Value

Make a list to demonstrate your value, accomplishments and contributions to the company. If you’ve never had a raise at the company, focus on compiling a list that includes monetary value tied directly to your work. If possible, use statements such as, “increased monthly sales by 25% by launching a new social media campaign” or “saved the company more than $5,000 in fees by renegotiating contracts with vendors.” If you’ve had a raise in the past, focus on what you have done since then. Remember, your salary increase is an investment for the company, so any demonstrated efforts on your behalf to help improve the bottom line will serve to strengthen your case.

DO Negotiate and Be Flexible

If the company you work for is struggling financially or going through a budget crisis, giving you a raise might not be possible at this time. Be open to possible alternative benefits, such as extra paid leave, tuition assistance, stock options, overtime, etc., or a promotion, if one is warranted. Your patience now could pay off in a salary increase later.

Editors Note: Use your resume as a professional diary to record your accomplishments and work success. It’s a great way to be prepared when you ask for a raise. Compare Resume Writing and Resume Editing to see which of our services is right for you.

DON’T Surprise Your Employer

Timing is everything. DON’T blindside your employer by asking for a raise spontaneously or at an awkward moment. If it is not the time of year for your normally scheduled review, make an appointment to discuss the matter at a time that is convenient for your employer. Avoid an early Monday, a late Friday or any times of the month or year that are typically busy. Choose a time when deadlines and distractions are minimal.

DON’T Threaten to Leave

DON’T give an ultimatum or get emotional about your request for a raise. Losing your cool could lead to losing your job, if you make threats without having real intentions to leave. Focus on your future at the company and how you want to continue making valuable contributions. Remember, your goal is not to make your employer defensive, but rather receptive to seeing why you are worth more money.

DON’T Burn a Bridge

DON’T be disappointed and respond negatively if you do not get the raise you want after your discussions and negotiations. Ask your employer for a list of things you can do to position yourself for an increase in the future. Put a plan in writing to work toward those goals. Document all your accomplishments so you can prepare to share them at your next salary discussion.