How to Ask for a Raise


By Michelle DesChenes, Executive Vice President of Diversity Search and Direct Hire


If you’d like a raise, approaching the topic can be nerve wracking — but failing to ask for what you deserve means you probably won’t get it. Here’s how to position yourself to ask for a raise and increase your chances of getting what you want.

Position Conversations around Reviews

Make sure you have a handle on when your reviews will be. If they aren’t already in place, ask your manager for a quarterly meeting to discuss your performance. Even if you have formal reviews scheduled at six months or one year, setting up these more frequent and informal reviews comes with benefits. The regular feedback will help you to continually improve so that when you ask for a raise, you can point to these areas of progress. It shows you are proactive in your development and willing to take feedback. Plus, having regular check-ins opens the door to conversations like a raise, making it more natural to have a conversation like this with your manager.

Set a Goal

During your regular check-ins, let your manager know what your ideal salary is and ask for advice. For instance, you could say: “I have a goal to increase my salary by 10%. Is that possible in my position? What would I need to do to get there?” If you don’t have a specific number in mind, ask your manager what is a “reasonable” raise and what is an “exceptional” raise and what is expected to achieve these.  Ideally, in both scenarios, your manager will be able to outline some goals with you and work on a plan to get you there.  As you work toward these goals, keep a running list of your accomplishments so you can reference them and feel confident in yourself when the big talk happens.

Put it on the Table

Before you ask for a raise, give your manager a heads up that you’d like to have a conversation about salary. Put it on the table so that he/she doesn’t feel blindsided. Set a date that works for the two of you, or plan to have the discussion in your next regular meeting. Send a calendar invitation to re-confirm.

Come Prepared

When the time comes to ask for that raise, come prepared. Bring your list of accomplishments, any prior evaluations, and any other projects you’ve completed. Practice what you’d like to say and be confident in your ask. Frame the conversation from the standpoint of adding value to the company and helping your manager. What have you done that has been helpful or added value? Where have you gone above and beyond? If your manager agrees with the value you are adding, it’s likely you will be either receiving what you asked for or negotiating a happy medium.

If your request is rejected, ask for specifics – is there a gap between what you’ve accomplished and is expected? Is there something else you can take on to get you to your desired salary? Any skills you can sharpen?

Be resolute in your desire to grow and confident in your abilities. Your salary will reflect that – you just have to ask for it.