Getting a raise isn't just a nice perk — it's how you build your career. More often than not, it's a good idea to ask for a raise if you feel you've earned it. One size does not fit all, though, and it's worth knowing the ballpark figures you should shoot for when you make your case.
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Say you've done your homework and figured out your timing already. Don't just lean on a salary calculator, although those can be useful tools at the beginning of this process. According to CNN contributor Kathryn Vasel, if you're just feeling underappreciated at work, shoot for 10 percent above your current salary. However, if you're on the hunt for a new position or a new job entirely, bump up your request for 15 to 20 percent above your current salary. Both will require you to sell yourself and your skills, so you'll need to do a little more than figure out the new number you want on your paycheck.
You should be prepared for three kinds of outcomes when you ask for a raise. One is that you may get it, which is excellent for you (even if the increase doesn't come all at once). The other, of course, is that you may not get it, for a variety of reasons. A third option is that you'll gain other benefits without necessarily seeing your salary rise. All of these are valuable information for you: When you know what you're really worth, it gets a lot easier to get out there and pursue it.