How To Ask Your Boss For A Pay Raise

There is nobody in this world who at one time or other did not say to themselves, 'This is it! I need to ask for a raise.' But very few really get around doing it. Among those who do, many are disappointed with a negative answer. The negation of a salary raise when asked gives bad vibes and will totally influence the quality of your work - at least for an initial time.

How to ask for a raise and get it? This is a million dollar question; a question which a lot of people have tried to answer. Some did well and some did badly. This is because unfortunately, there is no right answer. There is no guaranteed method which will get you a raise.

When you apply for a job through direct contacts and there is competition, you will be able to negotiate for a higher salary because the company at that moment does not have anyone to compare you with. Even though, you will need sharp negotiating skills to wrestle a good salary (above average) from any employer. These negotiation skills will help you when you ask for a raise as well:

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The art of negotiation:
If you are an astute shopper, you will know how to bargain in flea markets. You will need to haggle down the price close to what you want to pay for the good without putting off the seller. This is what you need to do when you ask for a salary raise too. Only, you do it with a little more sophistication. You calculate what amount of raise would make you happy. The add 5-10% over that amount and quote that to your boss, or HR chief. Explain why you feel justified asking for that amount (and for this you should do your homework well) and then let them water you down to the amount you actually had in mind in the first place. Both of you will have a smile on your face in the end!

A very important feature in the success of your request for raise is face-to-face dialogue. Do not send an email. Do not send a letter. Ask for an appointment and have it across the table. You may like to follow up the discussion with an email or formal request letter - but this should be after the discussion. Why is it important to talk? Your boss will need to know why you are asking for a raise, how do you compare with others, how much others are paid, how much extra you are doing, what are the benefits you got the company, etc. When you say it, it will register much better in your boss' mind than on any written note. Also you will be to defend the negative remarks that come up during a confrontation much better than you would ever do on a paper.

Keep in mind the rules:
Each office has its own rules. Some review performance yearly and allow for promotions if performance is found outstanding; some review yearly but allow promotions only once in three years or five years; and there are others which only allow promotions when an in-house job fall vacant. Even without promotions, there will be some rules for salary raise as well. Go along with the rules. In case you have a date for review, have your discussion previous to the review - not more than a 10 days to a week, or they will forget all about you.

My boss once told me once, 'everybody gets what they deserve' when I was requesting him for a raise for our sweepers whose salaries were pitiable. I rose to disagree, but he explained wonderfully. You stop getting better returns when you stop searching or asking; you stop searching or asking when you think you get what you deserve; if you think you deserve it, then you do! Wow! What a logic. It makes so much sense. Now, if you are stuck in low-paid job because you initially needed a job to pay the bills - fine. But do not stop with that. Ask for a raise, insist for a raise, prove you are worthy the raise inspite of the bad economy or overstaffing. And if you do not get it here, go elsewhere. Tactfully - but definitely do not settle for anything less than you deserve.

Be reasonable:
Do not give ultimatums. Do not blackmail - however tactfully - your boss into giving you the raise. The faster you get a raise this way, the faster you will get the boot at the slightest opportunity. It is in extreme bad taste to threaten to quit of you are not given a raise, for example, just before the annual board meeting when all the reports need to be compiled by you. You may get the raise, because you strong-arm your boss - but he/she will not forget this in a hurry.

Give alternatives:
A salary raise may not always be in cash. It could be a paid vacation, or a home lease, or a company car, mobile expenses, and so on. Make sure you have alternatives worked out in your mind when you go asking for a raise, such as, 'Boss, I understand you cannot raise my salary right away, but if you allow me to live in the company quarters it will be a good incentive for me for the time being.' Learn to give alternatives tactfully and appropriate to your needs and your company's capacity to give. For example if the quarters are only for faculty and you are non-teaching staff, asking for a quarter will surely get you a negative answer. Ask for what is feasible and does not set a precedent for the company.

Ask feedback:
When everything fails, do not storm out of the boss' cabin and sulk. Ask your boss for feedback. Find out what is needed, in terms of qualifications and work input, to qualify for the raise you want. Knowing what it takes, makes the task easier because it will help you plan ahead.

Plan for the raise:
Once you have the feedback and you know more or less what the boos needs from you to give the raise you asked, make a plan - a realistic plan - whereby you improve steadily and visibly (to your boss) in the course of six months to one year. Then re-open negotiations. Your boss will definitely appreciate your professional approach.

Thank profusely:
When the deed is done, make it a point to make your boss feel great about it. Tell him/her thanks genuinely and appropriately, i.e. in person, as soon as you learn about the confirmation of the raise from accounts. A crisp and genuine thanks offered in time will go a long way to pave your next increment.