How to Ask for a Raise

Learn how to talk to your supervisor about your salary.

It’s the time of year that many start filing their taxes and checking the mail for those tax returns. As money is on your mind this month, you may be thinking more about your salary. Often, talking about money feels uncomfortable, but sometimes it’s necessary to introduce this topic at work. Read below for some ways you can start the conversation with your supervisor.


Advocate for yourself.

It seems like being punctual, doing your job well, and just trying to be a good employee should be enough. But the truth is, employers often have a lot on their plates and they don’t always have the time to stop and consider employee performance and salaries. Find subtle ways to let your supervisor know about your accomplishments. You are the only one who can always advocate for yourself. Then, when it’s time to negotiate for a raise, it will not seem unfounded. When you start negotiating, have a mental list of  your contributions and strengths ready.


Do your research.

If you know you’re going to be negotiating a raise, research in advance what others in similar positions make. If you feel comfortable asking friends, feel free to consult with them, but don’t get all of your information from word-of-mouth. Check the U.S. Bureau of Labor website, and keep in mind that different positions may have different salaries based on the location and size of the company. If your boss asks for how much of a raise you want, you don’t have to have a specific number ready, but it’s good to know the salary range that is reasonable.


Timing is important.

Don’t wait to bring up a conversation about salary until you feel like it’s overdue. Performance reviews and company anniversaries can be a great time to introduce the topic. If you’ve just completed a big project, or taken on more responsibilities, it would also be a great opportunity to talk about money. Be sure you request a meeting with your manager so you can talk about it in person. Try to schedule it at a time when he or she is not overwhelmed or busy with other tasks.


Be positive.

Like most things, you’ll have most success if you approach it with a positive attitude. Even though you’ll want to be assertive and advocate for yourself, you should also show your commitment to the company. Explain how your contributions improve efficiency, quality, etc. If you plan on staying at the company for years to come, let them know your goal. Offer to take on more responsibility and brainstorm ways you can continue to improve.


If you’re working with a staffing company, you might be wondering if the same rules apply; click here to learn more about staffing, common pay rates, and how temp agencies get paid.