How to Ask For a Raise: The Essential Checklist

How do I know that I deserve a raise?

If you are lucky enough to do your job because you love it, you may count yourself among a very fortunate minority.

The sad truth is, the majority of currently employed people work because they need to put food on the table. So, if you are going to sell your labor, it seems reasonable that you should expect, or at least hope, to receive a fair price for your endeavors.

This leads us to a couple of questions related to the value of your contribution to the company: ‘What exactly am I worth?’, and more importantly, ‘Do I deserve a raise?’

For the lucky ones, there may be a contractually guaranteed increase in line with, or perhaps above, inflation. For many, this is not the case, and unless these workers engage in a dialogue requesting more money, then none will be forthcoming.

So how should you go about starting such a dialogue? What is a good opening? Here are some useful tips to get you started.

✓ Be sure that your company is not planning to give everybody a raise soon.

You may be one of the fortunate ones whose company has annual plans to increase salaries for all employees to coincide with their profit growth or as a strategy to retain employees. It makes sense, therefore, before asking for a raise, to have an informal chat with the HR department about this. You might be eligible to a raise without even lifting a finger.

Know your value.

Although your value is unique, it doesn’t hurt to know how much similar positions are earning in your industry. This will prevent you from aiming too high or too low. Check out GetLinks Salary Report to find out the average salary in your field; it’s always great to have a concrete piece of evidence to back up your statements.

Ask around! Networking can come in handy: attend events, meet people in your industry, be open about your intentions. People are willing to share insights in an informal setting: listen to their success stories and learn from their mistakes.

✓ You have exceeded your job description.

Many employers will ask you to work beyond your job description. This may be because they are short staffed, or that they are trying to do things on the cheap. Either way, it seems unfair and unprofessional to ask you to do work for which you’re not getting paid. Consider these two examples: A writer friend of mine was recently asked to supply artwork for a story, while a UX/UI designer that I know was asked to fix 502 Bad Gateway – is this fair? Well perhaps ‘yes’ if you are getting paid for it, and definitely ‘no’, if you are not. Put simply, if you find yourself doing someone else’s job or keep getting asked to do tasks that haven’t been agreed upon, it’s a good sign that you deserve a raise.

✓ Say Yes to new Responsibilities.

If your employer offers you an opportunity, embrace new tasks and responsibilities to demonstrate your potential. Sometimes you just need to be on a lookout for projects you can contribute to.  If you are a junior content writer, you should be keen to compose feature stories, which in time may lead you to be an editor. If you are a junior developer, you should jump at the chance to develop an in-depth understanding of an entire application lifecycle, which hopefully will help you on your journey to be a lead developer. 

There’s a big difference between being overworked and working hard.

While the first may simply be a sign of an abusive boss, the second is you taking on a challenge whereby you are sowing the seeds for a financial harvest that you will reap later. Your hard work here is an investment in your future position, and hence, future salary.

✓ You have contributed ideas which have benefited the company.

Good ideas do not grow on trees; they are generated by creative people, and if you come up with an inspired thought, you may be responsible for creating a significant competitive advantage for your employer. When your initiatives stand out and bring the company economic benefits, you have to capitalise on your genius. Make sure that you are given credit for your idea, and be ready to bring this up when making your case for a raise.

✓ Loyalty deserves reward

All businesses go through highs and lows. One day your employer’s company may be riding along on the crest of a wave after sealing an amazing deal, and the next day an economic crisis means the company takes a battering. Some employees may choose to flee the (apparently) sinking ship, while others will stay until the company reaches calmer waters. Have no doubt, this loyalty needs to be rewarded, and you should remind your employer of your resilience and loyalty, and how you should be first in line for a raise when the profits begin to grow once more.

Do you think you may have a good case for a raise?
Here are a few extra dos and don’ts to ensure you of success:

Enter negotiations with evidence. If you can show concrete examples of your achievements, contributions, and loyalty, you have a much better chance of succeeding. Spending time putting together a strong detailed case with specific instances of what you have done both inside and outside your job description will help to get you what you deserve.

Complain about how exhausted you are. It is much better to say what you have achieved, and that you have so much more to give.

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