Time to ask for a raise? 4 signs and tips

Darrell Jones |
Darrell is Snagajob’s Manager of Content & Copywriting, where he enjoys writing and editing advice that helps workers and businesses align and succeed. His first hourly job was totally chill, bagging ice at an ice cube f-f-f-factory.

Asking for a raise can cause a lot of anxiety. But if you pick your time and are prepared to make your case, it doesn’t have to be intimidating. 

When is the right time? Here are 4 signs.

1. Your company is in good financial shape. 

If your company or even your department has met or exceeded its financial goals recently, it’s a good time to ask for a share of that bounty! But on the other hand, if the business is visibly struggling, or if other people are being laid off, then this is a sign that the business doesn’t have money to spare. 

2. You took on extra duties and contributed more to the company’s success. 

Are you covering more responsibilities at work? Are you the reliable problem-solver on the team who takes charge of fixing things, routinely going above and beyond what was expected of you when your wage was set? When your manager is overwhelmed, have you stepped in and given them less to worry about? Showing yourself to be reliable – or even indispensable – is frankly an excellent opener to that conversation. Think of specific examples, because they will help you make your case.

3. You just had a great performance evaluation. 

Performance evaluation season is often when companies are expecting to raise wages and when your manager most likely has the authority and budget to make a decision. If your performance evaluation was excellent, this is a good time to suggest re-evaluating your wage. 

4. You achieved something special that was valuable to the business. 

Did you take on and complete any special projects that had value to the business? Maybe you came up with a process that saved time and helped your team be more productive. Or maybe you thought of a way to cut down on waste or other expenses. Perhaps one day when things were slow, you reorganized the stock room and made it easier to find things. Or maybe you just took on a project that made your manager’s job a little easier, like finally sorting through that huge stack of papers or binders or manuals and getting them in order. Can your achievements and increased skills be reflected in your wage? It’s a great time to ask. 

So how do you make the ask? Try these 4 tips.

  1. Ask for some time on your manager’s calendar in advance, and go ahead and tell them you want to talk about your career (rather than a straight ambush). This shows them you respect their time. 

  2. Once you have the meeting date, prepare for it like it was an important homework assignment. After all, money is at stake! Get together a concise list of your accomplishments for the business in the past year. Rehearse saying them out loud so you’ll feel more natural and confident on the day! 

  3. This tip will take you to the next level: now that you’ve considered your contributions in the past, take some time to think about what you – their loyal and motivated team member – might do in the next several months. What great things could they hope for from you next? Is there a responsibility you could take off your manager’s shoulders that you think you’re ready for that they might appreciate? Is there a way you could do things differently to save money, or time, or increase productivity for your team in a way that’s a win for everyone? 

  4. Remember to frame your request in terms of why it’s worthwhile for the employer – what’s in it for them. Your manager may – or may not – want good things for you as a person, but at the end of the day the company pays them to help the company succeed. So don’t make the request in terms of why you need more money or your financial needs: it’s all about how you’re helping the company succeed. 

Get what you’re worth.

Your negotiating power is always strongest when you know you have other options. When you think you might be underpaid, it’s smart to also look around and know what options are out there. Of course, it’s even better to have some hot prospects in your pipeline. 

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