The Magic Question: How do I ask for a Raise?

At some point in your career, you may find yourself wanting a salary increase. But do you know the right way to ask for a raise? According to Mercer’s 2014/2015 US Compensation Planning Survey, the average raise in base pay is expected to be 3.0% in 2015, up slightly from 2.9% in 2014, 2.8% in 2013 and 2.7% in 2012. If you want to take advantage of this increase, or any salary increase, you need to be prepared to showcase your value to your boss.

Deciding when to ask for a Raise

Before you request a meeting with your boss to ask for that raise, you should become aware of your company’s raise or salary increase policies. Most companies only give out raises once a year, while others hand out raises only at the time of your review. Not sure of your company’s timeframe, ask around and find out.

Regardless of the timeframe, you don’t have to wait to ask for a raise. In a Learnvest article, Suzanne Lucas of recommends talking to your boss about getting a raise a few months in advance before your review because that is when they decide the budget.

Assessing Your Market Value

The next step in the process is determining how much you are worth. Make a list of your accomplishments in the last year. Did you help the company win an account? Did you help raise revenue or increase business? Think about what sets you apart from other people in your department, and why you deserve to receive a raise.

In addition, you should also do some research on salary ranges for someone in your same position and industry. Be sure to consider your location and company size, as these can both influence salary levels. In her Huffington Post article about asking for a raise, Kim Keating of Keating Advisors, recommends using job postings, as well as sites like and to get a better idea of current salary data.

Practice Before You Pitch

Now that you’ve done your research the only thing left to do is meet with your boss. Before you schedule that meeting, you should prepare for the conversation. Ask a family member or friend to act as your boss while you review your reasons for wanting a raise. Think about any objections that might come up, so you can be prepared to address any questions and concerns. Once you feel confident in your pitch, it’s time to setup a meeting to discuss your raise.

Making Your Pitch

Make sure to schedule your conversation for a day and time when he/she can give you their full attention. If you know your boss has a big deadline, meeting or presentation coming up, wait to schedule your meeting for a better timeslot.

In addition to discussing a salary raise, you should also take this time to discuss your career goals with company. This will give you a better idea of what you can expect in the future for both your salary and position in the company. Remember to review with your boss all the things you do and have accomplished over the past year. Follow this up by asking about what your boss expects of you in the next year and beyond, so that you are both on the same page for the next time the raise conversation occurs.

Are you ready to ask the magic raise question?  Do you have any raise negotiation tips that have worked for you? Share your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook

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