Executive Coaching Articles

How to Ask for a Pay Raise

Thanks to Joel, I have become a more mature leader: self-assured and polished in how I present myself. I now have the tools to effectively manage my career and professional image.

Katherine Maraschin, Sr. Director, Office of the COO,Symantec Corporation

My client Jillian called last week, sounding frustrated. She announced that she was about to start looking for a job and wanted my advice about networking.

“I thought you liked your job,” I said.

“Oh, I love my job,” she replied. “I just don’t feel like I’m paid what I’m worth. I could make a lot more working someplace else.”

Do you have that same feeling? So does 65% of the working population, according to survey conducted recently by Salary.com. Out of 14,000 workers surveyed, more than 9,000 said they were going to look for a new job in the next three months. The main reason was because they felt they were underpaid.

So I asked Jillian, “Have you thought about asking your boss for a raise?” There was an uncomfortable silence.

“How do I do that?” she finally volunteered. “And what if she says, ‘no’?”

We worked together to develop a plan. After doing a little research, Jillian mustered the courage to visit with her boss about her salary. The result? She got a raise and stayed in a job she enjoyed. Meanwhile, her supervisor didn’t lose a valuable employee.

Asking for a raise isn’t easy and there’s definitely some risk involved. But if you follow the tips listed below, you may get to keep the job you like AND get paid for it.


How to Ask for a Pay Raise

  1. Be honest. Do you really deserve one? That same Salary.com survey revealed that only 19 percent of workers who felt they were underpaid were, in fact, underpaid. If you are among that 19 percent, you’ll need to provide facts and data to support your case for a pay raise.
  2. Do your homework. The Internet makes it easy to research market pay rates for your job. Check out www.salary.com, www.bls.gov or www.erieri.com. Professional associations also provide salary data. Be sensitive to local market conditions. Check the classified ads or network with others in your field.
  3. Quantify the value you provide. Make a list of your notable accomplishments, especially those that go beyond the duties listed in your job description. Document the revenues generated, costs saved, increases in customer satisfaction, etc.
  4. Have in mind an increase that can be supported by your documentation. Also consider perks or other benefits in lieu of a salary increase. This could include tuition aid, flex-time, additional vacation days, etc.
  5. Stage a “dress rehearsal.” Anticipate the objections you’re bound to receive. Write down your presentation or present it in front of a mirror. Consider a “dress rehearsal” with a trusted friend or colleague who can play the role of devil’s advocate.
  6. Don’t ambush your boss. When scheduling the meeting, let your boss know your purpose in advance. This will give him or her the time to prepare and to seriously evaluate your request.
  7. Be confident and professional. According to Scott Reeves in an article in Forbes.com, there are the “seven no-nos when seeking a raise”:
    • Don’t act like you’re entitled to a raise.
    • Don’t tell your boss why you need more money.
    • Don’t stamp your feet, pound on the desk or cry.
    • Don’t say you should be paid the same as Good Old Billy Bob.
    • Don’t threaten to quit.
    • Don’t get personal
    • Don’t go for overkill.

To read the entire article, visit: Forbes Article: Seven No-Nos When Asking For A Raise