My clients often want to know exactly what they should say when they ask for a raise. Since I encourage my clients to rehearse, this article will provide some specific things to say. There are a lot of different ways to have this conversation. This is one generic way to language the discussion. Please check out our blog on preparing for this conversation before you take this step.

Step 1: Be Prepared

After having done your research on salaries, your HR policies, pay grades within your organization, etc., you need to present why you are deserving of a raise. Gather your research, look at your job description and prepare a list of :

  • The new responsibilities you have taken on
  • The activities you are doing that are outside your normal job duties
  • Your accomplishments

Write all of the ways you are going above and beyond your job description and how your efforts are positively impacting the organization. Practice saying them out loud so you can speak about them fluidly. Coming well-prepared to the conversation shows you are serious and are addressing the issue professionally.

Step 2: Set an Appointment

Based on your boss’s style, set up some time to discuss your salary. This could be in email or in person. Basically, you will want to say,

“I’d like to set up some time to discuss the topic of my salary. When would be a good time to do this?”

Boom! Now you’re in. You’re committed. This is by far the hardest step. Now the ball is rolling and your odds for making more money have never been better.

You could also broach this conversation as part of your performance review. When the topic of salary is brought up, you can say,

“I’m glad you brought that up. I wanted to know if we could discuss my salary in more detail.”

Of course, if the review didn’t go so well, you may want to make the behavioral changes suggested prior to making a request for more money.

Step 3: At the meeting

The day of your salary discussion has arrived. At the meeting you will want to begin with gratitude. Thank your boss for her/his willingness to discuss your salary. Present the reasons why you feel worthy of a raise (step 1). Here’s an idea for starters,

“Over the past year I have… (list the items you prepared in Step 1). For example, brought in x amount of dollars of new business, managed a new employee, received awards, saved the company x amount of dollars, etc.

Avoid guilt trips, “you promised me”, what other people are making, etc. Stick to the facts. What have you done, how are you being compensated and how should you be compensated based on your accomplishments, duties and industry standards.

You must feel worthy. Then you can ask,

“Based on this information, would you be open to discussing an increase in my salary?”

Step 4: Stay Quiet

At this point, stay silent and see what your boss suggests. If he asks if you have a number in mind, share what you’ve uncovered in your research. Then come right out and ask for a fair amount (usually not over 10% of your current salary, but every case is unique). You will need to gauge whether you want to ask for a little more with the hope that you get that or your desired salary. The key is to not over reach to where you are not taken seriously.

Step 5: Establish Guidelines for Following Up

After you ask for a raise and present the amount you will either get a “yes” or a “let me get back to you”. If it is the latter, gently determine when a good time to follow up will be.

“How would you like me to follow up?”

is a good way to approach that. Thank her for her time. Restate the follow up plan,

“OK, so I look forward to hearing back from you next Wednesday” or “Thanks. I’ll contact you on Wednesday then.”

Step 6: Politely Follow Up

If you’re boss was supposed to get back to you and hasn’t, give it a day. Giving people a day after they were to get back to you is a courtesy. Consider what is going on in your bosses world. If he still hasn’t gotten back to you, it is appropriate to send a gentle reminder,

“I’m just following up on our conversation last week”.

Go in with a positive attitude and ready to ask questions or get clarification. Once you are face to face again, it’s ok to lay back and let your boss take the lead. The ball is in her court. Listen to what is presented. Don’t get defensive or discouraged, but do engage in a discussion so you both feel a fair resolution has been made.

Good luck!

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