Do you think you deserve a raise? Many people do, but the ones who have a solid strategy are more likely to land one. Here are some things to consider prior to asking for a raise along with suggestions to increase your likelihood of getting one. Your chances of getting a raise have just increased.

Make Your Boss Look Good

Just like you, your boss has objectives s/he has to meet. Are you helping her/him to meet those objectives? The person you report to is the most influential person in your career right now. That person can give you a raise, promotion or see to it that you go to your next position with a glowing recommendation. Prior to asking for a raise, take a moment to consider how your boss views your performance. Are you often complimented and thanked for the job you are doing? Those accolades are great indicators that you are valued. If you aren’t getting compliments, have you delivered on everything that has been asked of you? Be sure you are in right with your boss and valuing the things s/he values prior to asking for a raise.

Be Easy (and Fun) to Work With

I have a lot of hard working, Type A, perfectionistic clients who get really mad at this question. I don’t like telling them that personality and likability often trump job performance. Both job performance and social skills are important in raises and promotions, but studies suggest 60% of your success at work comes from your EQ (emotional intelligence) not your IQ. I would say you are NOT well poised for receiving a raise (or promotion for that matter) if you:

  • complain frequently
  • balk at requests for additional work
  • ask for time off frequently
  • have a negative attitude
  • think your boss works for you (and not the other way around).

If you aren’t easy to work with, turn this around prior to asking for a raise.

Exceed Expectations

Accolades are awesome, but being the person your organization can’t live without is even better. One junior executive put it this way, “I make myself indispensable.” Do that. Be indispensable. If you haven’t had any indication that you are a hot shot, I suggest getting clear on what would provide added value. Some folks think they deserve a raise because they’ve been at the company for a certain amount of time. Really, raises are given to individuals as a way to incentivize them to stay. That means your personal contribution has to be something above and beyond what an average employee would do in your position.


Do you know what your same position pays in other organizations? Do some research at sites like to determine the fair market value for your position. Most organizations base pay on market standards. Provide your years of experience and education, see if you agree with the amount you are being paid. If you are already fairly compensated for your work, perhaps it is a promotion you should be seeking. Also, you may want to check with HR to see what policies are in place around raises. There are always ways around the rules, it just makes the terrain a little more difficult to navigate.

Pay Attention to Timing

Consider the last time you were given a raise. It’s a harder sell if you have received one within the last six months (for most managerial/specialist positions). Working on the items mentioned here in the meantime can prepare for you for your next ask. Also consider how well the organization is doing; weigh the financial climate you are in. If the organization is already cutting back, then your case needs to be that much stronger. Lastly, time your ask after performing well on a demanding project or after taking on additional responsibility. Timing is everything, so be sure you ask when you see an open door: whether it’s one you create or one in front of you.


You need to know how you are going to ask for more money. You also need to know how to respond to any questions. If you merely state “I wanted to talk to you about getting a raise”, be prepared for a rebuttal: “Why do you think you deserve one?” Stating your case up front is a more powerful position to take. State how you have helped the organization increase revenue, save money, retain customers, etc. If you can quantify this, even better (add this to your resume too!) In addition to your achievements, you can mention information on salary for your position, and the last time you received a raise. Consider your audience too and how to present your case. Does your boss prefer data or a sales pitch? Once you’ve formulated this, rehearse it. Be sure to present it in a confident yet respectful manner.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Maybe you are not successful. There is no harm in asking what you can do to garner an increase in the future. If timing is mentioned as the problem, find out when would be a good time. You may want to try to negotiate a bonus if payroll budgets are tight. You may also want to ask for a better title if you have taken on more responsibility.

Following these steps will increase your leverage for getting and obtaining a raise. Plus, you’ll feel better about the work you do.

If you would like to feel happier at work, contact Careerfulness for a free consultation.

Written by Pam Farone.