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5 Steps to Asking for a Raise or Promotion

It would be nice to never have to ask for a raise or a promotion at your job. Instead, you do your work well (like you’ve been doing); and your boss sees and rewards accordingly. Unfortunately, that’s not the real world. Employers are dealing with many employees on many different levels. It’s easy for someone to fall through the cracks. Which is why you will probably, at some point in your career, have to ask either for a raise or a promotion. These are some ideas for how to tactfully do so.

  1. Do your homework.

You don’t want to ask for a ridiculous dollar amount when talking to your boss about a raise. This would be unwise and show that you don’t really know what your industry is like. Check out what others in your field and your geographical area are making. Search Google and pick the brains of your mentor (you have one, right?). Don’t come to your meeting with your boss unprepared. Not only will you waste your best chance at that raise, you’ll waste their time, which won’t bode well for you.

  1. Choose your timing.

Asking your boss for a raise when the company has just lost a major contract would not be the smartest choice. Consider where the business is currently. Is now the best time to ask? Bring into consideration your boss’s position. Did you hear that your boss was just reprimanded by the higher-ups? Approach your boss when they’re in a good mood and when the company is in a good place. Your timing could be what makes or breaks your attempt.

  1. Start building a case.

If you really want a raise or a promotion, then you should be taking on more responsibility and projects now. You have to be able to show that you’ve been handling your current work well, and could easily take on further responsibility, adding value to yourself now and in the future. Don’t expect to get a raise when you’ve been doing the same thing day after day for the last three years with no expansion in your duties.

  1. Consider your approach.

You do not want to be confrontational. This will be a quick shut-down to your request. Instead, approach your boss with the attitude of, “what can I do to achieve this promotion?”. Someone who is willing to be teachable and learn is someone who will do well in a promotion. When you’re asking for a raise, you can’t just have the attitude that you should get one because you want one. That may be what you’re thinking, but you have to show your boss that you’ve added value to the company in your position. You’ve gone above and beyond, and you’re an important asset to the company. Convincing your boss of your worth will go much farther than just telling them that you feel like it’s time for a raise.

  1. Be in it for the long-haul.

The key is not to rush. Being patient will get you the places you want to be. If you ask your boss for a raise or a promotion and they tell you “no,” be willing to wait a little longer and see if circumstances change. Your boss may not be able to give you what you want right now, but if you approached them right, then you’ll be on their mind the next time they have the ability to offer a raise or a promotion.

Asking for a raise or a promotion is a tough thing to do. However, with some preparation and patience, you’ll be able to pop the question in a professional, unemotional way. Don’t rush into a confrontation that you’ll regret. Take your time and use circumstances to your advantage.


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