Picture this: You’ve got a great job, you’re performing well, you’re happy—but you know it’s time for a raise. The scenario is undoubtedly familiar, but the realization can often be accompanied by some significant doubt. What’s the best way to approach the subject with your employer? What should you say? What should you not say? Here’s a step-by-step guide with some helpful things to keep in mind when you’re asking for a raise:
Step 1: Wait for It
Dr. Danielle Harlan, the founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Leadership and Human Potential, recommends waiting at least six months in a new position before asking for a raise. That way, you’ll give yourself plenty of time to demonstrate to your employer your impressive skills and commitment to the company, setting you up for success.
Step 2: Toot Your Own Horn
It may seem counter-intuitive to brag about your own successes, achievements, and all-around wonderfulness, but employers often see this as a sign of confidence and a desire to excel. Jenn Grasso, VP of Le Tote, says that employees who are “great at proactively communicating [their] accomplishments” are shoo-ins when opportunities for promotion come around.
Step 3: Prep Your Case
You’ve been in your new position for six months, and you’ve spent that time overachieving, excelling, and proactively communicating your wins to your supervisor. Now, it’s time to actually ask for the raise. Put in some time for careful research, and be prepared to make a case for yourself. Some things to keep in mind may include your salary relative to others in your field and the financial situation of your employer. Consider listing your achievements and successes, including how they will benefit your company in the future. Finally, decide firmly what you’ll do if your request is rejected, so that you’re not left floundering in a potentially awkward moment. Will you quit your job? Will you counter with another offer? Will you wait a few more months and then make your request again?
Step 4: Make an Appointment
Treat any request for a raise or promotion as seriously and professionally as possible, and the only reason that it shouldn’t happen in person is if you and your boss don’t work at the same location.
Step 5: Make Your Case
While it would be great if your boss granted your request right off the bat, it’s more likely that you’ll have to prove yourself. And the fact that you deserve a raise might be totally obvious to you, but less so to them. So be prepared to present yourself articulately and clearly, focus on maintaining a positive attitude, and walk in with confidence.
Step 6: Work with Your Answer
This meeting can pretty much go one of two ways: The first is that your employer wholeheartedly agrees and grants your request on the spot, and the second is that they don’t. If the latter scenario ends up happening, it’s vital to not give an emotional response—remember the game plan you’ve already put in place for a rejected request. If you choose to negotiate, you could keep in mind things like a bonus or a title change, which your employer might be more willing to grant. And don’t overlook the importance of laying groundwork for the future by asking for input from your supervisor; encouraging the lines of communication to stay open makes you appear honest and willing to implement constructive criticism.
Most important of all, be confident! If you’ve got the smarts to have merited a raise or promotion, you can be sure that your employer has noticed. Now, all you have to do is ask.