How to Ask for a Raise (Without Being Shown the Door)

how to ask for a raiseThe idea of asking for a pay increase strikes terror into the heart of even the most seasoned professional. For those of us who began working many years ago, the ideology of that time was to put your head down, work hard and keep your mouth shut. Thanks to business schools, modern thinking and intrinsic self-confidence, that thought is largely considered obsolete and a sure path to the cubicle closest to the exit sign.


Those of us with business savvy usually consider the time is right for a pay increase when either our workload, responsibilities and/or performance merit such a discussion.  Given that this is the case, one should carefully prepare for this discussion.  Ways to prepare include the following actions:


  • Take the time to assemble your portfolio of accomplishments and commit those items to paper;
  • When feasible, illustrate how those accomplishments were consistent and directly related to your job description;
  • Develop a chart that highlights those accomplishments as they relate to the financial health of the company, i.e., what percentage of growth was associated with those accomplishments;
  • Try to provide concrete examples of how your performance had a direct impact on a measurable component of the business, i.e., patient wait time was decreased from 30 minutes to 10 minutes by implementing a different way of scheduling appointments or how sales increased 10% from one quarter to the next because you developed a better way of following up with client calls.


Approach your supervisor before you want to have this discussion with a polite note asking for a meeting to discuss your performance at a mutually convenient time.  The best time for this discussion is during your annual review.  If your company does not practice this, then estimate a time each year to have this discussion.  Agree to meet at a set date and time and stick to this date/time.


Enter the office with your information and a copy to share with your supervisor.  Begin the conversation by letting your supervisor know you are happy in your position and appreciate the additional responsibilities you have taken on.  This is a good time to segue into what those additional responsibilities consist of and how well you have assimilated them into your workload.


In summary, you want to approach this conversation with confidence in your abilities, your performance and worth as an employee.  Have a number in mind that is acceptable to you and be prepared to negotiate if necessary.  Project your desire to continue to grow with the company and take on additional responsibilities as necessary.  It is essential to leave your supervisor with the thought that he/she is happy to have hired you, want you around indefinitely and agree that based on your accomplishments, etc that a pay raise is indeed in order.