How to Ask for a Raise

Hi, I’m Bernadette

Today we are going to talk about asking for a raise. It’s an uncomfortable question and I see you cringing right now. No one wants to ask for a raise. I hear this all time. You would rather find another job and quit rather than ask for a raise. 

Or if you really like your company and they give you the flexibility for remote (or whatever your perk is)…you will stay and suffer and make less than your counterparts at other companies.

The most common reasons I hear as far as why people don’t ask for a raise:

  1. You don’t feel comfortable doing it,
  2. You don’t want to bother their boss,
  3. You know that the boss will say no,
  4. You know that the company isn’t making any money and you know that they can’t give you a raise.

Let me tell you this. No matter how much or little money your company is making. If they want to give you a raise they can and will. 

How not to ask for a raise

  • Don’t say “I feel like I am worth it”, no one is going to give you a raise because you feel you are worth it. Steer clear of these words
  • Don’t say, “I have too much to do, and I am working too much” and leave it at this. Chances are your boss feels the same way.
  • Don’t use inflation as the sole factor as to why you should receive the raise as everyone at your company is in the same situation.

A possible way to ask for a raise could be, “I’m getting calls from recruiters saying that I should be making more money”. Most likely, your boss will just wait until you find something else and then get you to stay with a counteroffer. 

So how do we recommend you ask for a raise?

  1. Do your homework and prepare your case.

    If you and your boss have set performance objectives look at them. Have you met them? If not, it may not be the right time to ask for a raise. But if you have, how much have you gone above and beyond?

Write down all your accomplishments at work and highlight where you’ve met or exceeded expectations. Going above what is expected is the best way to achieve the best raise. Keep in mind that unless you have specifically communicated upward to your boss, they may not know the ins and outs of all your accomplishments. Make sure you are prepared with examples.

  1. Pick the right time to ask for a raise

The best time to ask for an increase is just before you are setting the new budget for next year. Having said this, I know salaries have increased a lot over the last two years, and I don’t recommend waiting.

  1. Schedule the meeting.

    Think about what is going on at work. Accounting & Finance departments have slower and busier times of the month, and you should factor this in. Also, avoid asking the week before your boss goes on vacation or gets back from one.

Unfortunately, there are some companies that are always in emergency mode, and you will never find the ideal time for a meeting. If this is the case for you, you need to carve out time with your manager. You can acknowledge that you know this is not a good time but explain that you have been waiting to have this conversation and there are never any good times.

What happens if you hear ‘no’ you can’t have a raise?

  1. Be prepared to hear no.

    This is the easiest answer, and your boss knows that most likely you will go away. You are thankful that you had the guts enough to ask for a raise only to never have to do it again. At a minimum, if you are upset and you find another job, when you resign, your boss can give you a counteroffer to get you to stay.

  1. If you hear “no”, be prepared.

    Ask your boss what you need to do to get a raise in the future. You would rather know now as opposed to later. Get specifics and come to an agreement on what you need to do and in what timeline to do it in order to get the increase. Maybe your boss isn’t prepared in this meeting to have this discussion, but make sure you set a follow-up meeting.

If you are someone that has a career and financial goals, communicate with your boss about what they are. See if you can come to an agreement on a timeline for them as well.

Don’t wait

One more thing, you do not have to wait until review or bonus time to ask for a raise. If you feel like you are worth a raise or hear from others that you are underpaid, then ask for a raise and don’t wait.

Getting ready to ask for a raise…mental preparation.

Before I send you off, let’s do a little psychological preparation. Remember, you are having a conversation with your boss. Easy breezy. It is just like asking any question…no biggie. If you make it a big deal it will be a big deal. So, before you go in let your mantra be:

  • “It is just a conversation”
  • “It is just a question”

Good luck!

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About The Resource Link

For almost two decades, The Resource Link has strategically placed Accounting & Finance talent with some of the best companies in Arizona! We consult with our hiring managers and candidates to dive into the best solutions and outcomes and we provide advice and feedback along the way. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or just pick up the phone! We would love to hear from you to help you build the best team or find the best career.



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Bernadette Grattan, founder of The Resource Link

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