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Tag Archives: time to ask for a raise

With the Great Resignation and a nation-wide worker shortage, employers are scrambling to both hire new staff and retain the people they already have. It’s an employee’s world right now, so why not use this opportunity to ask for a raise?

If you’ve been with your company for more than a couple years, you are a valuable asset that cannot easily be replaced. You know your company’s systems, goals, visions, and approaches. You’re familiar with your co-workers, as well as the resources you can use to get your job done. On average, it takes $4,000 to hire a new employee, and that doesn’t include all the expenses associated with training and/or mentoring. Your company would rather retain their current employers, especially if they’re performing well.

Of course, it doesn’t make sense to ask for a raise if you just earned one OR if you’re underperforming OR if you’ve only been working at your company for a matter of months. However, it does make sense to ask for a raise if:

  • You are a high performer or active contributor
  • You are taking on more work than ever
  • You feel you are worth more than what you’re paid
  • Fellow employees in similar roles are paid more than you
  • People in your field are receiving better pay at other companies

These are all reasons to ask for a raise.

If you feel like you’ve earned it, you probably have. So, why not ask for it? According to Ramit Sethi, author and founder of I Will Teach You To Be, “Just one $5,000 raise, properly invested, can be worth $1 million over your career.”

Sounds great, right? But you can’t just waltz into your boss’ office and demand an extra $5K a year. You have to develop a thoughtful, thorough plan. Here’s how:

List the reasons you deserve a raise.

Take time to evaluate the work you’ve done over the last year or two. What projects stand out? What are some specific instances where you’ve truly shined? When have you added to the profitability of your organization? Collect as many specific facts as you can (Of course, it helps if your boss already knows about your accomplishments, but that’s a subject for a different blog post). Practice talking about your accomplishments in the mirror or with a close friend or spouse. Why? You want to sound as natural as possible when you have this conversation and not like you’re rattling off a list.

Arm Yourself with Confidence.

Don’t be shy about asking for a raise. Believe you’ve earned it and demonstrate, with confidence, the reasons why you should get it. However, don’t overdo it and let confidence turn into cockiness. Just be authentic, sincere, and assertive in your request.

Have a specific dollar amount in mind.

Do your research. Know what other people in the company are making and know what other people in your industry are making. Don’t be outlandish in your request, but don’t sell yourself short either.

Talk about the future.

It’s a good idea to demonstrate you are ready to continue to do great work for the company. As Carolyn O’Hara writes in an article for the Harvard Business Review, “Lay out your contributions, then quickly pivot to what you hope to tackle next. Assure your boss that you understand his or her pressures and goals, and pitch your raise as a way to help achieve those goals.”

And if your boss turns you down? That’s a possible outcome and you have to be prepared to accept it. But don’t get discouraged. The fact that you asked for a raise shows initiative, career-mindedness, and tenacity. It also demonstrates to your boss that you know what you’re worth and he or she will have to give you a raise at some point down the road or risk losing you. So, be fearless! You don’t get what you don’t ask for.


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