What's the Best Way to Ask for a Raise?

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You know you’ve been killing it at your new job. So a raise is probably coming your way soon, right? Not necessarily. Even if your boss recognizes your accomplishments, she probably isn’t going to hand you more cash just like that. If you want a raise, you’ve got to ask for one. Here are some tips that will help you get the salary you deserve.

That may sound like it goes a little bit against the advice above, but hear us out. You can’t expect to be given a raise every time you hit a new goal—and you could wear out your boss by asking too soon. A good rule of thumb? Wait for the one-year mark of when you were hired or last promoted.

Yes, you should ask—but you should also persuade. If your company doesn’t offer an annual review, ask your supervisor if you can have one. Use that meeting to provide the reasons you deserve a raise. Outline your accomplishments over the year (yes, in an actual memo), point out the ways you’ve gone above your job description, and highlight the projects you want to take on in the future that also go beyond your official duties. If any of your projects have pulled in extra revenue, be sure to note that—with specific numbers. Remember that the decision to send more dollars your way usually isn’t your supervisor’s alone to make. She’ll likely have to present it to HR or another entity. So help her out and make your case easy for her to present too.

Be confident, but also be willing to accept criticism. In fact, you should ask for it. If you request an honest assessment of your performance, it will show your boss you’re serious about your role on the team. An employee who’s willing to take feedback to heart and make changes is worth her weight in gold.

Don’t just ask for a raise in general—specify the increase you would like, either in dollars or in terms of percentage. And make it clear you’ve done your research. Ask mentors or other trusted people in your line of work what they earned earlier in their careers, or check out career sites to see what others in comparable positions earn. If you’re being underpaid, show that you know it—as diplomatically as you can, of course. 

Above all, keep it professional. You may need extra money to cover a rent increase or unexpected expenses, but your boss doesn’t need to hear that. Raises are given out based on merit and your impact on the company, not life circumstances. Keeping the conversation business-focused will only help your chances. 

It should go without saying, but remember to thank your boss for her time. She has plenty of other things going on and the meeting and subsequent follow-up will take up precious hours of her day. And if she says no, don’t be discouraged. Express that you understand—and ask if you can have another performance review in six months rather than a year. An employee that cares about the work she does is an employee the company wants to keep happy.

Asking for a raise is a smart financial move. Another smart move: finding just the right credit card. With the Discover it card, any cash back you earn during your first year will be matched, dollar for dollar—and there’s no annual fee. What are you waiting for? Visit Discover to learn more.