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How to Ask Your Boss For a Raise at Work (with Examples!)

Do you feel ready to increase your income? If you already have a job, then the easiest route is to ask for a raise.

But asking for a raise is scary—only 37% of employees1 do it. And yet, 70% of people who ask for raises get one! The odds are in your favor.

In this article, we’ll help you know everything you need to know about how to confidently ask for a raise.

If you’d like a quick guide on how to ask for a raise, keep these quick tips in mind:

Do ThisNot This
Plan a video call or private meeting in person.Ask at the end of a group meeting.
Research your industry to discover fair pay according to your skills and tenure.Ask for a raise just because you think you’re great. 
Know your exact number beforehand.Have no idea what amount you’re asking for.
Keep it professional.Make it about personal needs, fairness, etc.
Use open body language (sit at a side angle, gesture with open palms, lean forward when talking).Manspread or blocking (crossed arms, covering your face, having objects between you).

How to Prepare to Ask For a Raise

You’ll have the best chance of getting a salary increase if you go into the meeting well-prepared. Here’s how.

Prepare for how you can add value

Focusing on the value you bring is the biggest determiner of your success. 

Take it from Chris Voss, the former FBI hostage negotiator. Chris recommends changing your perspective for a pay raise negotiation to “How can I advance our agenda? Instead of trying to advance my agenda.” Instead of focusing on yourself and getting more money, look at the bigger picture. 

This does three things:

  1. It keeps your boss from viewing your request as self-serving.
  2. It makes it clear to your manager how keeping you around will benefit them
  3. It keeps your career moving forward on an upward trajectory. 

One way to do this is to look at what tasks and responsibilities you received on day one with your company. Then compare that with where you are now. Show your boss that even though they hired you for one set of tasks, you’ve been proactive in taking on new tasks and getting involved with meaningful projects. 

Then, turn the conversation into a dialogue about how you can continue contributing more to the company.

If you can go into the conversation having already framed your proposal in a way that boosts the company’s vision, you’ll be in great shape.

Decide how much you want to ask for

Before you schedule that meeting with your boss, you need a clear goal. You don’t want to be in a situation where your boss asks you what you want, and you feel like this:

Go into the meeting with an exact number or a specific range with the lowest you’d be willing to accept. 

Take into account these considerations:

  • What are your industry trends? Research what others in your field and position are earning. Here’s a salary calculator on PayScale that will estimate how much you should make based on your job title, experience, and location. Glassdoor is another great resource for seeing the average salary for your role. 
  • Have you boosted your qualifications? Have you recently earned a new certification or degree? Perhaps you’ve mastered a skill that’s highly sought after in your industry. These factors can justify a higher ask.
  • Has the nature of your responsibilities shifted? If your job description has evolved or expanded since your last salary negotiation, it’s time to take note. More responsibility should equate to more compensation.
  • What is the company’s current financial position? Context is key. Is the company thriving, or are there talks of budget cuts? Understanding the broader financial climate can help you suss out how much to ask for.

If you’re not sure how much to ask for, consider that the average annual raise is about 3-5%2,-As%20we’ve&text=Per%20capita%20base%20salary%20changes,merit%20and%204.1%25%20total%20increases.. You might increase that a few percentage points if you’ve taken on big new responsibilities or gotten professionally certified recently.

Make a list of your accomplishments.

Next, be ready with a list of your recent accomplishments from the past year. This will help you come into the meeting with a strong and convincing case. 

Here are a few possible accomplishments to keep note of:

  • Major projects you’ve led or contributed to significantly
  • The measurable impact you’ve had, like increased revenue or improved efficiency.
  • Recognitions you’ve received from higher-ups or key stakeholders

Prepare for questions and pushback

For your last bit of preparation, come expecting that your boss might not be ready to say yes immediately. 

Prepare responses for questions like:

  • “Why do you believe you deserve this raise?”
  • “What will you bring to the company moving forward?”
  • “Can you provide specific examples of how you’ve exceeded the expectations of your current role?”

And also, prepare to hear the word “no.” 30% of the time1, a manager will say “no” to a raise. The most common reason a manager denies a raise is because there isn’t room in the budget. So be prepared for this response. 

If you’re met with this “no,” don’t just settle for nothing! 

First, clarify if your manager would give you a raise if they could. 

If the answer is “no,” then ask for feedback on how to improve your work to get a raise, and then request to check back in after 6 or 12 months.

If the answer is “yes,” then either ask to check back in after 6 or 12 months to see if the budget has shifted, or you could ask for non-salary perks, such as:

  • More vacation days
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Remote work
  • Flexible work times
  • Improved health benefits

If you’d like more advice on how to up your negotiation game, check out this article.

And if you’d like some tips not just on asking for a raise but on upgrading your career in general, you might enjoy this free training.

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When is the Right Time to Ask For a Raise?

Before setting up your meeting, pause to clarify when you should ask for a raise. Here are some of the best times to line up your raise conversation:

  • Before budgeting
  • During your annual review
  • After you’ve completed a big project or task
  • When you have had a professional win or success
  • If you have a new job opportunity

Let’s break each of these down. 

Before all the numbers are crunched

Your boss may want to give you a pay increase, but if you ask after finalizing the budget, their hands may be tied. Budgeting finishes before the new fiscal year. Common fiscal years3 are: 

  • February 1 to January 31 for retailers and other businesses
  • October 1 to September 30 of the following year for government
  • July 1 to June 30 for school districts

If you’re not sure, just ask! 

During your annual review 

An annual review provides a natural segue into the question of salary. You’ll already be discussing your goals, your big wins, and your future with the company. Keep in mind that your annual review may not coincide well with the timeframe of budgeting.  

After you’ve done something amazing

When you ask for a raise, you want to leverage your wins. Remember, this is a negotiation, after all, and you are a confident career professional with a lot to give. After you’ve completed a big project or task (and knocked it out of the park), you’ve shown concrete evidence that you’re an excellent asset. 

And when this recent achievement is on your boss’ mind, they’ll be more inclined to offer you some reward.

If you get another job opportunity

Another good time to ask for a raise is if you’ve been offered a great new job opportunity. If your current pay makes you second-guess staying in your role, this is the time to ask for more money. 

While this timing tip may give you leverage, it comes with a big caveat that many people overlook. When you go to your employer and ask for a counteroffer, they may see you as disloyal. Even if you get the raise, their attitude towards you could change.

Instead of using a counteroffer in this way, where you overtly ask for a raise, try flipping the narrative to assess your future with your current company. 

Barbara Corcoran, one of the highest-paid businesswomen (and also a savvy investor in the TV show Shark Tank), suggests saying:

“I got a great offer; I love working here, and I plan to stay, but it brings to the table my question: what do you think my prospects here in the future might be?” 

This avoids using the job offer as a power play and instead positions you as a loyal and valuable employee. Most importantly, it will show you whether your boss values you. If they respond positively, you can use this opportunity to see if their vision aligns with yours. If they respond dismissively, that’s your cue to leave. 

Tips on How to Have the Conversation of Asking for a Raise

Now that you know when to ask for a raise, these tips will help you skillfully navigate the conversation itself.

See this as an opportunity to become more empowered

Many of us don’t ask for a raise because we are scared of rejection or scared of seeming too greedy.

But let’s slow down for a second and see what there really is to lose and to gain.

What’s the best-case scenario? You get a pay bump, and you become more empowered.

What’s the worst-case scenario? You have the same pay as you had before, and you become more empowered. 

It would be awesome to get the raise. But even if you ask for it but don’t get it, you can see this as an opportunity to grow on your path of personal empowerment.

Let your manager know ahead of time.

Don’t surprise your manager by suddenly asking for a pay raise in your one-to-one. Instead, let them know in advance that you’d like to discuss it, and then make sure to get it on the calendar. You can do this in an email or at the end of one of your meetings. 

Say this: “I’d like to meet to discuss my current salary. Does this time work for you?”

Or this: “During my upcoming performance review, I’d like to discuss my compensation. Will that work for what you have planned?”

Don’t make it personal.

Focus on your professional achievements and value to the company instead of your personal circumstances. 

Of course, you do have personal financial needs. You might have a family to support or a mortgage to chip at. But if you bring these up in your pay-raise request, it can easily come off as an emotionally manipulative “sympathy card” and unprofessional.

Open body language

How you present yourself in this meeting is just as important as all of the preparation you’ve done in advance! In this video, Vanessa Van Edwards shares how to master your body language to complement what you’ve planned to say.

Here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind:

  • Keep your arms and legs uncrossed
  • Keep your back upright and shoulders relaxed
  • Keep your hands visible (instead of in your pockets or under your desk)

Use the power of silence

In negotiations, silence can be a powerful tool. After you’ve presented your case and made your request, give your boss time to respond without filling the quiet with chatter or backtracking on your ask. 

It can be so tempting to fill that silence. You might feel anxious after you’ve made your ask. But stay strong! Staying silent conveys your confidence and will create space for your boss to say “yes.”.

Scripts, Examples, and Templates on How to Ask for a Raise

You have all the tools to ace this conversation. If you’d like a few examples, then read on.

Here is a basic template of how to guide your conversation with examples under each part.

  1. Thank your boss for meeting and saying you want to talk about your salary

“Thank you for taking the time to meet. I wanted to talk to you about my salary.

  1. Detail your value to add from where you started until now (keep this concise)

“When I started working here a year ago, all I was doing was XYZ. But at this point, I’m not just doing XYZ but am also doing ABC and am excited to continue to contribute more.”

  1. Detail what you recently contributed that benefited the company. 

“I appreciated your oversight on the success of [recent project], and I am looking forward to future successful projects. I thought this was a good cause to discuss my salary.”


Since I’ve taken over this role, we’ve seen a steady increase in [relevant metric]. I feel glad to support the company goals in this way, and it feels fair at this point to bring my salary up with you.”

  1. Present your industry research and name your desired % increase. 

“I took some time to research the industry standards, and based on my role and responsibilities, it looks like an X% increase would be fair.”

  1. Convey how you are helping the company achieve its objectives.

“I know it’s important to you to [share company goals or boss’ goals], and I believe I’m on a track to continue to support those goals.”

  1. Turn it back to them (and don’t fill the empty space!)

“What do you think?”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About How to Ask for a Raise

Should I just wait for them to give me a raise? 

If you wait for your employer to give you a raise, you may wait for a very long time. Many people avoid asking because they expect they’ll eventually receive a raise or they fear rejection. 
Be strategic and understand that even if you don’t receive the raise you ask for, new opportunities will come. We’ve seen people pin their hopes on one moment, one company… but it’s a big world outside their friends, and you have options and choices. Just remember that. 

How do you ask for a raise via email?

When asking for a raise via email, be clear and concise in your subject and opening lines, stating your intention to discuss compensation based on your contributions. Make sure to outline your achievements and express your desire for a meeting to discuss further.

How to ask for a raise when you are underpaid?

If you feel underpaid, do some thorough salary research for your role and years of experience. Clearly state your understanding of your value and express your expectation for equitable compensation.

How do you ask for a raise based on an increased workload?

When asking for a raise due to increased workload, detail the additional responsibilities you’ve taken on and the impact of your work. Express that your compensation should reflect the significant increase in your contributions.

How to ask for a raise due to inflation?

If inflation has eroded your purchasing power, explain how the cost of living has increased and present data on inflation rates. Request that your salary be adjusted accordingly to maintain its real market value.

How to ask for a raise during the performance review?

During a performance review, highlight your accomplishments and progress since the last evaluation, then pivot to discussing how these contributions warrant a review of your compensation. Emphasize your commitment to the company and your desire for your salary to reflect your growing role.

How do you ask for a raise and promotion?

When seeking a raise and promotion, articulate how your skills, achievements, and increased responsibilities align with the higher position and warrant increased compensation. Express your dedication to the company and your desire to grow your career there.

How to ask for a raise or quit?

If you’re considering leaving unless you receive a raise, communicate your market worth and express that you enjoy your role but need your compensation to reflect your value. Try to be graceful yet firm. Indicate your hope to reach an agreement, but clarify that you are exploring other options to meet your needs.

How to ask for a raise politely?

To ask for a raise politely, express appreciation for your role and the opportunities you’ve been given, then transition into discussing your contributions and the value you add. If you can align your efforts with the company goals, it should come off as synergistic and polite.

Takeaways on How to Ask for a Raise

Best of luck achieving your raise! You got this 💪

Before going into the meeting, just remember to:

  • Decide how much you want to ask for:
  • Make a list of your accomplishments
  • Prepare for questions and pushback

And once you are in the conversation,

  • Focus on the value you add
  • Keep it professional
  • Stay silent after your proposal

If you’d like more tips on handling negotiation, here are 12 science-backed negotiation tips.

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