10 Steps To Asking For The Raise You Desire

Key tips for negotiating the salary you desire.

Originally Published June 9, 2015

It’s very unlikely that your boss will walk over to you and just hand you a raise without you having made previous inquiries about extra pay.

While many professionals feel they are deserving of a pay increase, a lot of workers are clueless about how to negotiate a better salary. In an effort to help all professionals, regardless of age, ask for the raise they feel they deserve, U.S. News and World Report asked negotiation experts for tips on how to go about asking a boss for extra pay Here’s their advice.

Do your homework

Before going to your boss about a pay increase, be sure to research the average pay for someone in your field with your specific job title and experience. This way, if your employer challenges you about asking for extra money, you have information to back up your request.

Ask yourself ‘What if?’

Assess how happy you are at your job and ask yourself, “Will I be prepared to leave if I don’t get the raise?” If the answer is yes, recognize the risk you are taking if you quit without another job lined up. If you are looking to leave, do additional homework about the job market for your industry and reach out to professionals in your field to see if they know of any openings.

Consider alternative benefits

If you were unsuccessful with getting the raise you asked for but love your job, consider asking about other perks such as vacation days or more flexible work hours.

Practice negotiation

Robert Bordone, founding director of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program at Harvard Law, suggested arranging a mock negotiation with a friend or family member. This will allow you to get feedback on whether you’re coming off too confident or too hesitant.

Schedule your timing wisely

Bordone advised scheduling a private meeting with your manager and keep timing in mind. It’s certainly not wise to ask for a raise during the launch of a big project or right after your company has announced layoffs.

Look and act like someone who deserves a raise

Presentation is everything, so be sure that you’re on your “A” game when going into this meeting. Dress appropriately, be professional, be on time, make eye contact, and speak up.

Find your balance in tone and language

Be assertive but not aggressive when asking for a raise, advised Bordone. Don’t tip-toe around the topic, asking something like, “Would it be OK if we talk about salary?” That opens up the door for an easy “No.” Be confident with your request but be sure not to come off as arrogant. Maybe start the conversation by saying something like, “I would be grateful if we could talk about a salary increase.”

Give the employer a positive role

When negotiating your salary, make it clear to your boss how a raise in pay will also help with your productivity and morale, Bordone said.

Be specific

Tell your employer the specific figure you are trying to make and support your request with the research you did on average pay in your industry.

Be a good listener

According to Bordone, listen closely to your employer’s response and show that you are paying attention by paraphrasing and restating key points made. This will make your boss feel like they are actually engaged in the conversation without it seeming like a “me versus them” dialogue.

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