How To Ask For A Raise

There are few things as uncomfortable as asking for a raise. No matter if you have a good manager or a bad one, if you work retail or at a fortune 500 company, it’s a stressful process because it instantly turns into a contest between you and your company. In short: you want more money, they don’t want to give it to you.

But we’ve prepared three strategies to help make this process a bit easier, and to get that extra chunk of change in your pocket.

Confidence is Key

Be it dating, work or going to the DMV, there’s one rule that remains true in every facet of life: confidence. It’s human nature, but everyone responds to confidence with increased attention and respect. Which means it’s important to walk into your yearly review with a calm assertiveness that implies you know what you’re talking about.

Confidence is a hard thing to teach, but there are some shortcuts you can take to get your swagger up. Make sure to dress sharp, as looking good is a quick path to feeling good. And, though it sounds a bit silly, studies have shown that increasing your body size can give a temporary feeling of self-confidence. That doesn’t mean packing on the pounds before a meeting, but it does mean that things like stretching or reaching your arms out as wide as you can are impactful. Our only advice is to do this somewhere private — no one wants to have their boss see them stretching like that. Body language during the meeting should be relaxed, attentive and open. Both feet planted with arms rested to the side or on your lap.

Do The Math

One of the hardest parts of asking for a raise is not taking the whole picture.  From the employee’s perspective, a raise means things like a better quality of life for his/her family, increased opportunities for home ownership, reductions in debt, and so on. For an employee, the math comes down to making an indent on the company’s yearly profits. Of course, managers should want their employees to lead better lives, but the bottom line doesn’t always make this an easy decision.

That’s why it’s smart to think of it from the employer’s perspective.  Do an honest look at your output and how much money it earns your company. Find out how much your position pays on average in your area, and come in with quantitative facts as to how you’re producing for the company. You should also know where your company is financially and avoid asking for a raise during the fourth quarter of business.

It can be difficult to put a price tag on intangibles like the ways you improve morale, but you can still make the argument that your presence, personality, work output, approaches to efficiency, etc., all improve the company’s profitability. However, your boss will more than likely respond to numbers versus soft work skills, so stick mainly to the tangible facts.

Aim High

An oldie but a goodie. Every single raise negotiation will have some back and forth to it. If your boss accepts your first offer right away, they’re either an angel or secretly overjoyed that you asked for too little money.

Every raise should take inflation into account. That means that a raise of less than 3% isn’t a real raise: it’s an adjustment with how the economy works. Your quality of life will stay the exact same.

That’s why you should aim high. Nothing absurd, of course. Don’t go in there and demand a 50% raise. But expect that your boss will try to meet you somewhere lower than the middle. Which is why it’s good to ask for slightly higher than your actual expectation. And remember, even an extra $1,000 a year can matriculate into a much better retired life down the line.

There’s no surefire way to guarantee the raise you want, but following these simple guidelines is a good way to give it your best go. An informed, confident and understanding employee is a good employee. And a good employee is a well paid employee.