Ask for a raise and get one | Tips for talking to your boss | Roost
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How to ask for a raise and get it

If you’re part of the 46% of Americans who feel underpaid and aren’t sure how to approach your boss for a raise. This guide will answer the questions of when and how to approach your manager with confidence and professionalism and make your case that it’s time for you to get a raise. 

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When should I ask for a raise? 

Choosing the right time to ask for a raise can significantly increase your chances of getting one. Ask yourself these questions to decide if now is the right time to ask for a raise.

How long have I worked at this company?

Six months after your hire date is a typical waiting period to request a raise. Some companies may still only follow an annual cycle, but if you’ve taken on more responsibilities, are getting good feedback, and proving your value, ask sooner than a year.  

How long ago did I receive my last raise?

Again, one year is a reasonable amount of time to wait before you ask for a raise, unless your job duties and responsibilities have increased significantly. Many companies have a yearly review process to assess compensation and ensure employees aren’t underpaid relative to the market, so waiting for your annual review is a great time to talk with your manager about how to get a raise.

How is my company doing financially?

Even if you don’t have direct knowledge about how your company is doing financially, you can look for clues. For instance, if your company is laying off people or cutting back on spending, your chances of getting that raise aren’t great. 

You can also do a simple Google search to assess how your particular industry is doing. For example: Is manufacturing on the rise? Are there widespread nursing shortages? Understanding the state of your company and your industry can help you strategize about when to ask for a raise. 

How is my job performance?

Have you just finished a big project or essential launch? Is your performance above and beyond, or are you just meeting the basic expectations of your position? If you are an above-and-beyond employee and can point to the contributions you’ve made, it’s a great time to leverage your hard work and ask for a raise.

Roost Tip! Document your job performance and your specific accomplishments in your position to highlight why you should get a raise when speaking with your manager.

What is a good percentage raise to ask for? 

Knowing how much to ask for can be tricky. A 3-5% raise is considered an average pay increase by most companies; if you receive that amount every year, it can add up over time.

But you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for more.  A 10-20% increase may be appropriate if you are long overdue for a raise, have taken on additional job roles, are underpaid compared to others in your field, or compared to others on your team functioning in similar positions.  

What is the market value of your position?

Every job has a “market value”, which means there’s a general salary range for a specific job. Which range you’re in is influenced by your level of experience, education, and knowledge. Salary ranges are also often affected by where you live.

Here are a few places to look to assess your market value:

  • Salary scale websites such as Glassdoor
  • Employment recruiters
  • Friends or colleagues who work in the same industry
  • Look for job advertisements in the same field

If you discover you are underpaid, you’ll want to ask for a more significant raise, but you may need to keep your raise request moderate if you are already making a similar amount as others.

What are your qualifications?

Consider your education, experience, length of employment, and unique skills when deciding how much of a raise you’re requesting. For example, if you just finished a certificate in digital marketing or acquired a new degree, those additional qualifications increase your market value. 

Cost of living increase

A cost of living increase is an annual wage increase meant to help you keep up with the rising prices of goods and services caused by inflation. The Social Security Administration, for example, grants a 2.8% cost of living increase every year for those receiving social security benefits. 

Inflation can really take a bite out of your budget. Everything from food, to gas, to rent, can go up. If inflation has been on the rise but not your income, be sure to come armed with current inflation facts and numbers to justify your higher pay ask.

How to prepare to get a raise

Being appropriately prepared when you ask for a raise will help you be confident and self-assured when you make your case.

Why do you deserve a raise?

Now is not the time to be modest. When asking for a raise, you’ll need to show your manager you deserve it. Have your efforts increased sales by 25%? Have customer satisfaction ratings increased by 15% since you took over? 

Highlight your accomplishments and duties that you perform that are above and beyond. Be as specific as you can by using numbers that will back up your claim that you’ve earned this raise.

What is your target salary?

Be ready with your target salary and the data to back up why you believe you are asking for a fair amount. Don’t be afraid to ask for the highest increase possible. Your manager may say yes, or she may say yes to the raise but no to the initial asking amount. That’s when it’s time to negotiate and find an amount that works for both of you.   

Create a presentation

Share a narrative about yourself and why you deserve a raise. Note your wins for the company, performance, special skills, everything, and anything that makes you a valuable employee.

Try to keep the tone conversational and prepare for potential questions and various responses your manager may have.

Schedule a meeting

It’s better to have a one-on-one conversation to ask for a salary review. Avoid sending your request in an email as tone can always be misinterpreted, and it’s easier for a manager to say no in an email.

Likewise, don’t ambush your manager in the breakroom to ask for a raise. Schedule a private meeting and be clear that you want to have a salary review. This will give your manager time to prepare for the meeting as well.

Roost Tip! Dress for success! Come to your meeting dressed professionally to show your manager you take yourself and your contributions to the company seriously.

5 Tips to asking for a raise

  1. Be positive and enthusiastic during your meeting

There’s no doubt that asking for a raise can be difficult, if not downright stressful. Staying positive when talking with your manager about a salary increase will show her how much you enjoy the work you do. Avoid adversarial tones or ultimatums that may not work in your favor towards getting that raise.

  1. Discuss your future with the company

Let your manager know that you’re invested in the company’s future and success and what your professional goals are within the company. If she feels you’re committed to the growth of the business, you’ll be seen as an asset.

  1. Be prepared to answer questions

Most managers are going to have questions, like, “Why do you feel you deserve this amount of a raise?” “What additional responsibilities would you be willing to take on with a raise?”. Try to come up with 5 to 7 possible questions and map out detailed answers.

  1. Be ready to negotiate

Your manager may have a drastically different raise in mind when you meet. Be ready to prove your position and have a minimum raise amount that you’re willing to accept.

  1. Be prepared to hear the word ‘no’

You may be due that raise, but for various reasons, it gets denied. Stay positive and professional. Get specific reasons from your manager about why she said no, find out when is a reasonable amount of time to meet again to discuss, and what, if anything, you can do in the meantime to improve your performance.

Roost Tip! Send your manager a thank you email after your meeting. Recap what you discussed, what was agreed to, and next steps. If your manager could not honor your request, ask when to meet again.

How do I ask for a raise (sample email)

Due to COVID, getting face time with your manager isn’t quite as easy as it used to be. If you can’t get face-to-face time together, consider either a virtual meeting or a well thought out email:

Subject: Performance & salary review meeting request for [your name]

Dear [Manager]

I’m grateful for the opportunity to work for you as [your title here] with [name of company here]. Since I was hired [time in mo/years], I have not only done the job duties that I was initially hired for but have happily taken on additional responsibilities. I’d like to meet with you to review my salary of [$enter sum here].

As you are aware, my salary has not increased since my hire date in [20XX]. Since then, I have [example: helped develop a more efficient sales process that has increased our sales by 12% over last year and have improved our customer follow-up process to more accurately track customer satisfaction with our products].

I believe that these achievements and my overall excellent job performance justify a pay raise, and I’d like to set up a meeting with you to discuss. 


[Your name]

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Consider asking for other benefits beyond a salary increase

Your manager may agree 100% that you are due a raise but isn’t authorized to grant it or may not currently have budget available to do so. If you really like where you work and want to find a way to stay that is still fair to you, consider asking for additional benefits or compensation.

Negotiate to work from home

The money you’ll save in gas, wear and tear on your car, parking, or other transportation costs, not to mention the extra time you’ll gain not traveling to work, could make working from home a significant win.

Extra paid vacation

Getting paid while you’re off the clock can be a nice perk if you don’t get your wage increased. Don’t be shy to ask for a few more days of paid time off. 

More flexible work schedule

Are you tired of working 9-5 Monday through Friday? Ask to work 7-4 Monday through Thursday or whatever you think your company could adapt to, depending on the circumstances.

Ask for a better title

It may not get you a raise that day, but a better job title can carry more weight with co-workers, colleagues, and customers. More importantly, it can help you get a higher pay job/advance should you leave. And, the next time you ask for a raise, come prepared with market value salaries appropriate for your new title if you are also performing typical responsibilities of that title. 

Updated equipment

Maybe a 10% raise isn’t in the stars for you just yet, but asking for new, updated equipment or software could be a more attainable goal. Be prepared to discuss equipment issues and how improvements could increase your and your team’s productivity.

More equity or retirement contributions

Many companies offer retirement contributions or some stock or equity. If you cannot negotiate a raise, see if your company can kick in additional stock options or retirement benefits. 

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A quick note! Our goal is to gather and share info that’s up-to-date and helps you make great decisions as a renter. That said, the information you get directly from a provider could be a little different. Make sure to review their terms and conditions directly; and, if you see anything here that needs to be updated, please let us know! Advertising disclosure
Last Updated: February 18th, 2024