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8 Do's and Don'ts When Asking Your Boss for a Raise

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/21/2006 | Jobs and Careers
Feeling overworked and underpaid? If youre starting to feel like you deserve a raise, here are eight DOs and DONTs to build your confidence and tact (and what to avoid!) in asking for the salary you feel you deserve.

DO

1. Devise a Plan of Action. First and foremost, get a strategy together. Make a note of the specific projects youve undertaken and the results youve accomplished. List all of your job skills and the features that make you an asset to this company. Find out what a typical raise is for someone with your experience in your area of occupation. Know the facts and be realistic in your request.

2. Ask for an amount thats slightly higher than one you would be happy with. If you would be happy with a 5% raise, ask for one a couple of points above it. That way, if your boss starts to negotiate, you wont feel as if your worth has been diluted any by getting less than what you feel you deserve.

3. Remember, your boss shouldnt be the only one negotiating. If your company is going through a slow period or the economy is down, try to be flexible and know how to respond if your boss suggests a lower amount than what you may have been expecting. Consider other ways of getting a raise too, such as additional vacation time, employee perks or more time off. All of these can be just as good (if not better!) than an actual amount of money.

4. Choose a specific day and time to meet with your supervisor about your raise request. Avoid choosing a Monday or Friday when bosses are at their busiest. Studies have actually shown that people are more receptive on a Tuesday or Wednesday after lunch. That way, theyre not thinking about the weekend or their stomachs while youre getting up the nerve to ask about a raise! If youre afraid of being interrupted during your request, ask to speak to your supervisor for a few minutes after hours.

DONT

1. Raise your tone of voice if your boss objects to your raise at first. Remember, he or she is paying you to do a certain job, and youre asking for more money to do the same job. Be professional and polite at all times, and listen more than demand. Chances are, if your supervisor doesnt award you a raise, they might hint at what else could be done to earn it. If they dont, dont be afraid to ask what steps would be necessary to prove yourself.

2. Threaten with quitting if you dont get the raise or telling your boss you have another job offer unless you actually do. He may just call your bluff and let you go!

3. Stumble or beat around the bush with your request. Be straightforward and confident. You are a valuable member of a team and the supervisor hired you because they obviously thought you were the best qualified. If you have Thank You notes from customers or letters from the company praising you for a job well done, bring those to your meeting as well, as theyll help to cement your request and remind your supervisor of your role within the company and its progress.

4. Compare yourself to, or talk negatively about your coworkers or others in a position higher than you. You may think that this will put you in a positive light when it comes to a promotion or a raise, but to your boss, it shows that if you have a poor attitude toward your colleagues, youll keep the same poor attitude if you are promoted.

Remember, be confident, professional and tactful. If the boss says no or wants to think about it, open his mind to further consideration by volunteering to do more at the office. Stay an extra hour or help another team on a critical project. This demonstrates that youre willing to tow the mark rather than giving your boss the impression of gimme the money first and THEN Ill work. Good luck!