How to Ask for the Raise You Deserve

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You deserve a raise, you know you do! You've been working at the same rate for far too long and it's time to get compensated adequately — that was a test, never say that to the person in charge of your wages. There are various ways to enter the nuanced raise conversation, and the very best thing you can do is prepare. While many people will tell you to "just ask!" that advice doesn't take into account the art and science needed to get what you want. So if a raise is on your mind, here are a few tips for heading into that most stressful of conversations.

1. Do your homework.

This is the part of asking for a raise where you do some research and ask yourself some very important questions. What do other people in your field make? What do other people with similar positions make? Has the company changed since you were hired? Has your positioned changed? Your value add? What about salary trends? Also, research suggests that giving a specific number request ($64,000) helps, and ultimately gets you more than saying, "between $60,000 and $70,000."

Research will be the foundation of your request, so make sure to come armed with answers, and leave your emotions at the door.

2. Set a timeline.

When will this request go over best? If there's a formal process for raise requests, stick to that. If there is not a review process at your company, then make sure to pay attention to your professional anniversary and use that date as a time to reflect. "My two-year anniversary with the company is coming up," is a great way to start this conversation, and also reminds your boss of how long you've been committed to the team.

3. Make clear why you deserve it.

Everyone wants a raise but what the powers-that-be really need to hear is why you deserve it. Discuss your performance; discuss goals met and milestones achieved; discuss new responsibilities. Stay positive, emphasize how much you like the position, and make clear that you want your compensation to be aligned with your new responsibilities.

4. Show your commitment.

Your boss or manager also likely wants to hear that you're loyal. Make clear what new projects you anticipate taking on in the future, and how you want to help the company grow. If you invest in them, they're more likely to invest in you.

5. Have a backup plan.

The answer to your request might be "no," and be prepared for that. You can always leverage different things – like vacation time or career development opportunities. You can also request an interim performance review so you don't have to wait a whole year to ask again. A "no" is possible, but being prepared for that will help soften the blow.

Asking for a raise can definitely be stressful but coming in prepared will help to keep that angst in check.