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Asking for a raise at work: There’s the right way & the wrong way


Asking for a raise at work: There’s the right way & the wrong way

There comes a time in everyone’s career where you start to see the dollar signs flashing in your head.

Over time you may start performing tasks and find yourself thinking, “this is not worth what I am getting paid.”

Or maybe you think to yourself, “I have done a really amazing job in my role for these last six months.”

Whatever the case, when the thoughts start percolating and you’re ready to bring it up with your boss, chances are you’ll feel some level of intimidation by the process of asking for more money.

When it comes to asking for a raise, there are a few good approaches you can take, and a couple that you should avoid.


What You Should Do

Perhaps more important than the delivery and request for a raise is in your reasoning behind it.

Before you head to your boss’s office, give some thought to the motivation behind your request and prepare a solid case to help strengthen your request.

The “I’m worth more” tactic

If you recently went back to school to take additional courses, have been doing a lot of continuing education or training, or have been an all-star at several recent conferences, you may start to feel that you are worth more to the company.

Use the combination of this increased knowledge and education, as well as your new experiences to tell your boss how much you are worth, backing it up with research on what others with similar credentials are earning.

The “I’ve worked hard” tactic

Filling your role in the company for several years has left you with a reputable record of consistent, long term performance.

You have worked hard in your position since you started, and you have yielded the results to prove it.

Tactfully express this to your boss, as you explain to him or her why your hard work is an asset and why your pay should increase to reflect your excellent performance.

The “I performed” tactic

Particularly applicable in sales or marketing gigs, if you have had a recent big win, such as scoring a new, high-paying client, or closing on a significant sale, use this as the main leverage behind your request for a raise.

Focus on your trajectory as an employee, emphasizing your growth individually and how you have benefitted the company.

What You Shouldn’t Do

If the motivation behind your request stems from any of these sources, it may be best to rethink things before you head to the boss:

The other employee tactic

Asking for a raise because another employee is paid more, or you think you are better compared to another employee is not going to get you very far in the boss’s eyes.

Good bosses care only about how you are improving individually and how that benefits the company and the team, not how you are doing compared to someone else.

The threatening tactic

Telling your boss that you will leave if you don’t get more money, or making threats about your loyalty is not going to get you very far. In fact, they may indeed just tell you to leave!


When it comes to negotiating changes in salary, it can seem like a tricky subject to broach. Change your mindset to overcome nervousness and instead, walk in with confidence, knowing you are only asking for what you have rightfully earned. That confidence, coupled with the techniques above, should leave you with a winning formula for a new well-deserved salary increase.