Asking for a raise at work can be anxiety-inducing. As women, we’re often guilty of not asking even when we know we deserve one.
The hard truth is that if we don’t ask for raises throughout our careers, we may miss out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifetime earnings and exciting new work opportunities.
When and why should I ask for a raise?
If you’ve recently started a job, wait at least six months before asking for a raise. Many employers won’t consider giving raises until an employee has been with the company for a year.
A telltale sign that you should ask for a raise is if your responsibilities have changed since starting the position. For example, if you were hired as a social media coordinator but are now also doing graphic design projects in addition to your regular tasks, it’s probably time that your compensation is adjusted accordingly.
Some other reasons to ask for a raise are: if you’re meeting the expectations outlined in your job description, if you regularly implement the feedback you receive at work, or if you feel like the value of your work doesn’t match your current compensation.
Four steps to ask for the raise you deserve
1 Schedule a meeting with your boss
Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your manager. If you have a recurring meeting with them, ask during this time. Select a meeting format that is comfortable for you so that you feel in control throughout the conversation. Give your boss a heads-up that you have something important to discuss or share an agenda before the meeting so that they’re able to prepare as well.
2 Prepare for the conversation
Do salary research so that you know for certain that the compensation you plan to ask for is in line with today’s market. Once you’ve selected an amount, jot down the reasons why you believe you are deserving of a raise and how you landed on the number you’re requesting.
3 Be assertive during the meeting
Don’t beat around the bush or avoid mentioning the raise until the end of your meeting. Make it clear from the beginning that you’re asking for a higher salary. Use a good opener to lead directly into the discussion of your compensation and that raise you hope to achieve. That opener can look like this:
“Hi [name]. Thanks for meeting with me today. Things have been going really well and I’m excited about my growth in this role. I scheduled this meeting because I’d like to discuss my compensation. Based on ___ (reasons), I thought it was the right time to ask for an increase in compensation. The amount I’m hoping for is ___ (amount). What are your thoughts on this?”
Back up your request with facts and data. For example, you can mention the research you’ve done supports your case for higher pay, a recent increase in your workload, or the direct value you provide the team and company. Don’t forget to express appreciation for the consideration at the end of your meeting. While you should be assertive, you can show gratitude and appreciation for your job, team, and boss too!
4 Follow up in writing
Send a follow-up email two to four weeks after the meeting. In this email, thank your manager for chatting with you and ask about the next steps in the process. If you feel that it’s important, outline what you chatted about during the meeting to remind them why you believe you’re deserving of additional compensation. The email can look something like this:
Thank you again for taking the time to chat about my compensation during our last meeting. I’m following up to see if there’s anything else I can provide to help the process.
[Insert context or reasons why you believe you should be considered for a raise]
Do you need anything else from me at this time? If not, what are the next steps?
Thanks again and looking forward to continuing the conversation.”
Whether it’s the right time to ask for a raise or not, there’s no harm in planning for the future and having regular career growth conversations with your manager.
If you’re feeling stuck, remember that it’s never a bad time to be fairly compensated for the hard work and insight you bring to the table every day.