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How to Ask for a Much Deserved Raise?

Last updated by Swaminathan Iyer on May 20, 2024 at 11:13 AM | Reading time: 21 minutes

Here's what this article will cover:

  1. The appraisal cycle is just around the corner
  2. How to ask for a raise without failing
  3. Prepare for how to talk to your boss about a raise
  4. The perfect time to ask for raise
  5. Ask yourself a few questions before asking for a raise
  6. Trivia
  7. How to ask for raise
  8. Things to avoid doing when you ask for a raise

"Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing." – Carrie Fisher

Lily has been a loyal back-end programmer at a large corporate in Silicon Valley for over five years now. She loves her job and is exceptionally good at it. Many times, her colleagues have relied on her to power them through a tight situation at work.

The boss respects her, and her co-workers are her close friends now. Life could not be more perfect for Lily, except she would like to have a raise after five years of hard work invested.

She has been working in the same pay bracket without a revision, and she feels she is not being appreciated enough. She reckons it is time she was compensated better for the hard work she has put in.

But the catch is this: Lily does not know how to bring up such a sensitive topic.

She is afraid of sounding demanding and greedy.

Lily reads up tips on how to ask for a raise. She scours the internet for advice on how to talk to your boss about a raise.

And finally, she makes up her mind to have a conversation with her manager.

She goes through the tips on how to ask for a raise and plucks up the courage to ask her boss whether she can have a raise.

They have a non-confrontational talk, and she methodically gives him five solid reasons why she deserves a raise. She tells him that she has been an excellent team player and a loyal employee for five years. It is time he revised her pay package.

Her boss seems to agree with her, and they close the deal!

Lily leaves ecstatic!

If you want a similar conversation with your boss or want to know how to ask your boss for a raise, then read on! This article is for you!  

"If you know that you have been loyal to the company and have been working hard for a number of years, then you should be confident that you deserve a raise."
― Geoffrey Wright

The appraisal cycle is just around the corner

The appraisal cycle is that nerve-wracking time of the year when managers sit down and let their employees know how they have performed. Any worker's worth is gently or not so gently conveyed to them. And they may leave shame-faced or satisfied with a complimentary performance appraisal.

But appraisals can mean another thing if you have performed well. The soundest career advice you will receive is to ask for a raise during the appraisal period. During this time, you can ask for a hike without feeling like you have stepped on some toes.

To learn how to get a raise at work, keep reading, and explore a diverse set of possibilities.

“How do I ask for a raise” can be such a nerve-wracking question that many people avoid the topic altogether!

Do not be one of them and ask for a raise if you think you deserve it!

How to ask for a raise without failing

Most people do not know how to properly ask for a raise. They either come across as too pushy, greedy, or utterly off point. Asking for a raise is a very subtle power struggle that you have to handle with care so that it does not spiral into a more significant conflict.

So, how to ask for a pay raise without ruffling feathers or making yourself look bad?

Prepare for how to talk to your boss about a raise

Do not ask for a raise without doing some preparation for the conversation. This topic is not something you bring up at the water cooler so go about it with excessive caution.

  • Make your case

Since how to request a raise is quite a sensitive topic, you need to make your case before bringing it up. No employer will be willing to take you at your word. You cannot just say, 'I deserve a raise because I have been a great employee.' So have plenty of others. Why do you stand out? What makes you exceptional?

When you make your case, bring out the big guns like how you have worked on that cloud computing project that had everyone frazzled or how you pulled the team through to achieve that looming target on the e-commerce site.

You will need at least five suitably concrete points to win them over, otherwise consider the deal foregone.

  • Know your value

Much before you think about how to get a raise at work, do some self-assessment. Even before you allow someone to appraise you, do your own evaluation. Be tough on yourself and downright honest. Ask yourself if you have consistently achieved targets. Or have you put more effort into your work. Do not rate yourself too low or too high. Have a realistic expectation of yourself, and you will know what value you bring to the company!

  • Share your goals with the manager and ask for their opinion

Before you start the all-important conversation on how to ask for a salary increase, talk to your manager first. Around the six-month mark of joining the company, talk about how you can improve your current role and the areas you lack. Also, ask them for recommendations on how you can transition into the next higher role at work.

This conversation can be the first to help you segue into negotiating a salary hike. Use the feedback the managers provide. And when the time comes around to have the wage talks, inform them that you have kept your end of the bargain.

  • Shoulder more responsibility

The best way to prepare yourself for a deserved salary hike is to take on more responsibility at work. Even in your present role, you can do a stellar job that will get your boss' attention. Once you begin to command the show at work, the topic - how to ask for a raise - smoothly follows. Turn yourself into a person who deserves the hike in pay.

  • Record your wins and communicate them

Whenever you make a small win at your workplace, you do not have to report it to your manager immediately, but you can casually mention it in passing. And always try to exceed expectations.

Whenever you are handed a project, try to go beyond the call of duty whether you are compensated for it or not.  That is often the best way to prepare yourself for a promotion as well as a salary hike. Before you contemplate how to ask for a raise at work, try to be a better worker.

  • Demonstrate how you have made a company a profit

Right before you think over how to ask for a raise, cross this point off your checklist. Have you earned the company a lot of revenue? Did you play an active role in saving a client? If you answer yes to the two above questions, you have a higher chance of getting the managers to agree to your proposal.

  • Role-play and rehearse asking for a salary hike

Are you stuck in a quandary about how to ask for a pay raise? Experts advise that the best way to go about it is to role-play the scene in your head. Put yourself in the hesitating boss's shoes and imagine all the follow-up questions he is likely to ask. Probe your friends and family for their experiences and rehearse the scene a couple of times. Practice what you are going to say in detail. Then you will feel confident about how to steer the conversation in the right direction.

  • Be precise on the amount you want

When wondering how much of a raise to ask for, you can and must do your research. Do not have unrealistic expectations. Use websites like,, and PayScale to find the amount your peers in the same job or role are earning in your geographic location and quote something similar to your boss.

In fact, your employers may have already done the research and stipulated your salary. So before starting the negotiating, you should be aware of the asking rate in your domain.

  • Talk about the future

When opening the conversation on how to ask your boss for a raise, imply that you mean to stick around in the future with the organization. Doing so assures them that investing in you will help them reap long-term benefits in employee retention. Speak about how you will be prepared to work more and bring in more revenue. Then they will be more favorable towards your proposal for a raise.

  • Be prepared for a negative response

When proposing to take the plunge with how you ask for a raise, always have a mental picture of them saying 'no.' If they reject your request, ask for extra vacation days or career development opportunities. Or else you can also request an interim appraisal before the annual one so that they know you are in line for a pay hike. You can again ask for a Half-Day Friday or Flexitime. Even requesting telecommuting can be an appropriate response for you to make.

While it is obvious that you will not get money without asking, be prepared for a firm refusal.

The perfect time to ask for raise

When is the perfect time to ask for a raise?

You could not be more ignorant than to ask for a raise when the company is doing financially badly. There is a right time, and that time is when the company is doing superb financially.

Also, your manager should be free to accommodate the time-consuming conversation. So, for more reasons than one, pause that conversation on how to ask your boss for a raise until an opportune moment.

Here are three situations when asking for a raise is quite natural and appropriate.

  • Ask at annual performance reviews

Every year, an annual performance review is held where managers sit down across the table from employees and inform them of how they have performed. During this meeting, they discuss target achievement and review the work of the employee. It is a period also considered the best time for how to request a raise.

If you have performed satisfactorily or over-achieved, this is the best time to ask your boss for a well-deserved raise.

  • After completing an important project

Once you have completed that challenging data analytics projects for an East Coast library, you might want to bring up your role and achievement to the manager. While how to ask for a raise is not an easy conversation to have, the timing is more crucial than the talk itself.

So after you have played a significant role in upping the company's revenue and everyone seems to look upon you with favor and gratitude in their eyes, go up to the manager. Tell him, since he may not be fully aware of the nature of the role you played, what and how you achieved success for your company. Let him know that a little hike in salary will be welcome given your performance.

You are more likely to be received well when you are on a rolling high.

  • When your manager is happy

Knowing how to properly ask for a raise is more important than the actual conversation itself. Do not stupidly ask your manager for a raise when he is in a lousy mood and bogged down with a lot of work.

He is less likely to entertain you if he is weighed down having to prepare the year-end reports. Please keep your eyes and ears open for a day when he is happy, then approach him. Ask him if he is free, be courteous, be friendly. Then slowly steer the conversation around to a raise.

Ask yourself a few questions before asking for a raise

While you might have been mulling over asking for a raise for a long time now, you could blow the opportunity for yourself by asking for a salary hike in the wrong way.

So, how do I ask for a raise?

There are three factors to consider before you barge into your manager's office and demand the hike.

  • How well is the company doing financially?

You do not want to be a person who cannot read the signs. Have there been layoffs? Have there been budget cuts? Is the management curbing on spending? Are there fewer clients than before? All these will give you clues into your employers' financial health.

Read the news about your company and find out how they are performing in the marketplace. Is there a demand for their goods or has the market dropped recently? How do you ask for a raise in this situation?

You cannot and must not. Not only will the management think you are selfishly looking out for yourself, but they will also get the impression that you are not a team player. To avoid this, ascertain from reliable sources the financial health of the company.

  • Is your manager's work loaded?

Before knocking on your boss' glass door with a salary plea, take some career advice from observing school kids. School kids seldom bother the teacher when the teacher's mood is off. If she is busy doing some work, children know better than to plague her.

Use the same principle on your manager. Is he saddled with preparing the year-end business reports? Then it is not a good time to how to ask your boss for a raise.

Wait until your manager is free from work pressure, and he or she may be more likely to give you a patient ear about raising your pay scale.

  • How was your work performance?

One of the most ignorant things you could do is to ask for a raise when you have been pulled up for poor performance. Evaluate your work performance strictly and check if you are deserving of a raise. An ideal way how to ask for a raise at work is when you have contributed worthily to your organization. You have either a) saved them money, b) won them more clients, or c) helped them deliver on a project. If you have done none of the above, better luck next time!


Here are some superb facts about wanting a raise!

  • According to Tom Rath, when people were asked if they would rather have a best friend at work or a hike of 10%, they chose a friend.
  • Only 19% of overpaid workers are satisfied with their pay!

How to ask for raise

So, finally, how to ask for a pay raise?

Let's find out!

  • Get salary trends

When you try to figure out how much of a raise to ask for, you need some statistics. Firstly ascertain from credible resources what the average pay scale for your job is, across the nation. Then narrow it down to your geographic location. If your present salary falls in the pay scale range, then you might not be able to get a hike.

While a 3% hike is usually manageable, you can ask for more if the situation permits. If you are being paid much lesser than the national average for your job, it is time to talk to your manager. Only now you will be backed up by vital facts and figures.

  • Set a meeting: What to say in an appointment to get a raise

Set an appointment to ask for a raise. Do not ask for a raise in a common area or over email. Salary hike is a discussion you need to have face to face, preferably.

How to request a raise? What are the exact opening words to use?

  1. Hi! I want to take the time to discuss my salary. Does this time work for you?
  2. Is it okay for us to have a brief discussion on my compensation package?
  3. Hey, I want to set some time on the 10th for a conversation on my salary; is that okay with you?

Be serious about asking for a raise as serious as you would be when interviewing for a position. Dress formally and be mature about the discussion even when you are shown a rejection.

  • Be clear

When you come down to discuss how to ask boss for a raise be very clear about what you are there for. There is usually no need to beat around the bush. Go for the jugular as that gives an impression that you are confident you deserve a hike. You can say something like: I would like to discuss a salary hike, is now a good time?

  • Be specific

When you mention a number while asking for a hike, be very specific. Do not be shy. Since you have researched comparable salaries, you are confident you are asking for something reasonable. Do not specify a range in mind like $60,000 to $65,0000.

You should have a concrete number like $62,500, which lets them know where you stand on the negotiations.

  • How to act

How to properly ask for a raise, and how do you act when asking for one?

One tip is to be serious, courteous, and calm while asking. Also, show your enthusiasm for your work. If the employers are convinced that a pay hike will increase your capacity to work, then they will look on you with more grace.

  • Be confident and optimistic

When asking for a raise, have faith in yourself. You need to sound and feel confident; otherwise, you will not be credible. The employer can out-negotiate you in the process so be as optimistic as a lion when asking for a raise.

  • Always bring data and numbers

How has the company directly benefitted from you? How much of direct revenue have you reeled into the ship? To make your case for a hike in pay realistic, you need to bring in all these details of how you have impacted the company's profits. Only then will your plea have weight.

  • State a Real Number

As already explained before, when you step in for salary negotiations, do so with a definite number in mind. Try not to have a range but a concrete value. Also, do not be vague when they ask you how much you want.

  • Express gratitude

An excellent way to begin salary hike negotiations is to express thanks for the company and everything it has done for you. Remember to be grateful for the opportunity to work and make money. Work is a privilege, not a right, and then you can segue into why a salary hike would be perfect for enhancing that experience for you.

  • Express enthusiasm

Be enthusiastic about the future and how you wish to impact the company in the future. Having achievable goals implies that you are committed to a lasting engagement with this organization, and that signals positive news for the firm, so they will be more likely to hand you what you want.  

  • Be ready for questions

And lastly, be prepared for a lot of questions when you ask for a raise at work. Your employer may not be prepared to give you a raise, so you need to slowly but firmly chip away at the block to achieve your aim. Ask them how you can improve or whether they are satisfied with your performance or not. And from there you will be able to gauge which way the wind is blowing.

Things to avoid doing when you ask for a raise

Yes, there are some things to avoid when asking for a raise. Here they are:

  • Do not focus on personal reasons when asking for a raise

You cannot feel 'underpaid'. You cannot feel 'you deserve a hike'. There can be no personal reasons when you come to the negotiating table. Bring the stone-cold facts, or else, come another day. Nobody wants to listen to sob stories, so do not get personal when asking for a pay hike.

  • Avoid asking for a raise at a time of crisis

The singularly most ignorant thing you could do is ask for a hike when the whole company is passing through a rough time. If you have been losing clients, or there have been job cuts, or whole departments are losing funding, then it is not the time to have that little talk about why you deserve something extra.

  • Never take undue credit when asking for a raise

It may be hard to come up with an accurate picture of who did what when working as a team, so do not take undue credit for any work. Also do not lie about the number of hours you have worked in the month or falsify any reports since it is not only bad form, it is a terrible work ethic.

  • Do not ever sell yourself short

While asking for a raise, evaluate yourself accurately - not too high not too low.

Through this article, we hope you understood how do you ask for a raise and pluck up the requisite courage to do so!

Get that raise! Surely you deserve it.


Swaminathan Iyer

Product @ Interview Kickstart | Ex | Business Management - XLRI Jamshedpur. Loves building things and burning pizzas!

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