How to Ask for a Raise

7 essential tips you need to know when asking for a raise.

By Reader's Digest Editors

1. Do Your Homework
Do some market research to determine what others in your industry currently earn at your position. Websites such as Salary.com and PayScale.com offer tools that provide you with a salary range, and suggestions for how to determine where you fit in that range based on your skills and experience. You should also do informal research by polling your friends and colleagues in similar positions—as long as you work for different companies.

2. Know Your Employer
Many companies have official policies for discussing salary increases. If your employer offers salary reviews once a year, that’s probably the best time for you to negotiate a raise. If the company’s practices are more flexible, take the pulse of the financial situation of your department, and the corporation as a whole, when considering the timing of your discussion.

3. Show Them What You’re Worth
Keep a journal, list or spreadsheet of your daily tasks and accomplishments. Use this documentation as evidence to support your assertion that you’re worthy of a salary increase.

4. Have a Number in Mind
Based on your industry research, your responsibilities and your accomplishments, determine the salary you feel you deserve in advance of a meeting with your boss.

5. Set Up a Meeting
Schedule a meeting with your supervisor to discuss your desired raise. Know that your boss may want to do some research too, or meet first with Human Resources. Pushing for a meeting sooner than your supervisor offers definitely won’t help your cause.

6. Come Prepared
When you meet with your boss, be ready to back up your request with specifics about your performance and accomplishments, as well as goals for the future and additional responsibilities you’re willing to take on. Keep the meeting professional and avoid discussing any personal reasons you feel you need a higher salary. Beware of using tactics such as a competitive job offer to get a raise—they may backfire on you.

7. Have a Plan B
If your supervisor can’t or won’t give you a raise at the moment, ask what you can do to work towards a salary increase in the near future. Are there more responsibilities you can take on or aspects of your work you can improve on? If it’s a corporate budget issue, find out when might be a good time to revisit the conversation. In either case, schedule a meeting within a few months to discuss the matter again.

For more salary negotiation tips, check out these online resources: Salary.com, Humanresources.about.com, PayScale.com

Plus: The Ultimate Guide to Salary Negotiations

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