How to Ask for a Raise at Work

How to Ask for a Raise at WorkIt’s always tough to ask for a raise at work! But it’s more important than ever, especially given the recent downward turn the economy has taken. Asking for a raise at work is important since, as the saying goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. If you want to make what you’re worth, you need to ask for it!

Not sure how to do that? Good news – you can read on for a few smart strategies and tips to ensure your next raise request goes smoothly.

Come Up with an Exact Number

Firstly, do not expect to ask for a raise in generalized terms and get it. You can’t, for instance, approach your boss and just ask for some more money. Instead, you should come up with the exact amount of money you feel you deserve or the extra money you think you should be making.

Coming up with an exact number has a few major advantages:

  • It tells your superiors how much money they’ll need to account for in the budget when they consider your request, making their job easier
  • It gives you a good starting point for negotiations

It’s very hard to ask for a generalized raise. It’s much less difficult to ask for $50 more per paycheck or a percentage-based raise that you’ve calculated based on economic factors, how much money others in your industry make, etc. You can consider online bookmakers tested by

“As an added advantage,” says Jeff Goodwin, Sr. Director, Performance Marketing and E-Commerce at Orgain, “is that mentioning how much money you want makes it less likely you’ll be disappointed in whatever raise you do end up getting. Nothing’s worse than asking for a raise but not being specific, so you only earn a few bucks more each week!”

Bottom line: always expect to come up with an exact number when making a raise request from your boss.

Use Data to Back Up Your Request

But how exactly can you ensure that your raise request will be heeded? In general, it’s a good idea to use data to back up any request for more money. “The more data you have to back up your request, the more likely it is your superiors will see the wisdom of your point of view,” says Woody Sears, Founder of Hearhere.

For instance, say that you think you deserve a 3% raise this year. When your boss asks why you deserve that, you need to have some financial information ready to go to prove your case. You can use data like:

  • The current rate of inflation for the overall economy
  • The current housing market and price increases or decreases
  • More importantly, the amount of money the average person in your industry makes

Use resources like Glassdoor, Indeed, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to show your boss how much the average person in your position makes compared to yourself. Temoer Terry, Partner at The Mommy Care Kit says, “If you are being underpaid relative to your competitors, your boss will understand the unspoken assumption that you can go elsewhere, do the same job, yet make more money simultaneously.”

Using data to backup your request is the ideal way to ensure that your raise is approved. Even executives who like you will not necessarily give you a raise just because they find you pleasant. They need to have a concrete, numbers-based reason to do so.

Bring Your Best Data & Performance Numbers

Data is important when asking for a raise for another reason: proving that you, specifically, deserve more money. “After all,” says Andrew Chen, Chief Product Officer at, “what’s to stop an executive from asking whether one of your coworkers also deserves some more money?”

To that end, you need to bring in your best data and performance numbers to sway the managers to your side of thinking. Print out copies of all your top work, reports, and overall numbers. For instance, if you are a strong salesman at your company, show how much money you’ve made for your organization and put it into a binder before your meeting.

Once your raise meeting arrives, simply give the binder or folder to your manager, let them look over the numbers, and allow the data to speak for itself. If you truly deserve a raise, you should have many data points or sheets to point to so you can prove that you are owed more money from your employer.

“When used in conjunction with other, salary-focused data from across your industry, you’ll have a much better bet of getting the raise you want without having to negotiate too much,” says Juan Pablo Cappello, Co-Founder and CEO of Nue Life.

Present Positive Praise/Reviews

At the same time, you should print out or provide resources showcasing positive praise or positive reviews of your performance.

Do customers leave testimonials and mention you by name all the time? Print out those testimonials and present them to your manager. Or do your fellow coworkers always have kind things to say about you? Yuvraj Tuli, Founder of Compound Banc says, “Get those kinds of things in writing and present them to your manager so they can see how positive a force you are in the workplace.”

Presenting positive praise and reviews is vital to show that you’re worth more money. Each raise has to be considered carefully by your company’s executive staff, including general cost of living raises. If you can show positive praise or reviews for your performance at work, you’ll make yourself seem invaluable and irreplaceable.

Ask at the Right Time

While giving your bosses plenty of evidence in your favor is important, you can’t ask for a raise at any time and expect positive results.

Indeed, you should consider when you ask for a raise just as much as you consider how much you ask for. The best times to ask for a raise include:

  • During the latter half of the week, when projects are due but also when your managers are more likely to have a grasp of the current budget
  • During times of economic growth. If your company is doing well and you know that it has some financial wiggle room, it may be a good idea to ask for a raise
  • When you’ve just completed a very difficult project or challenge and know that you’ve caught the eyes of your managers

However, there are also times when you should not ask for a raise. These times include:

  • When your company is suffering from economic hardship. If, for instance, several of your fellow employees were recently laid off, odds are the company doesn’t have enough money in the coffers to cover a raise for you 
  • When you have recently failed a project or not performed at your best
  • At the beginning of the week or first thing in the morning, as you may come across as overly needy to your bosses

Set Up a Dedicated Meeting

Jae Pak, Founder of Jae Pak MD Medical says, “No matter when you ask for a raise, it’s important to do so in a dedicated meeting, not in a drive-by to your boss’s desk.” By setting up a dedicated meeting, you:

  • Give yourself and your managers enough time to prepare. This is crucial so you can gather the above-mentioned materials and data to prove that you are worth a raise
  • Allow your boss to consider your raise request generally before seeing the specifics. This is important if they’re on the fence or you’re not sure if you’ll get the raise at all

Plus, setting up a dedicated meeting means you don’t have to put off other work or responsibilities to talk about making more money. That’s vital for your superiors as well – they may not have time to discuss a raise with you right now, but they could slot in a time toward the end of the week when you two can sit down face-to-face and discuss the options.

Make Eye Contact and Be Direct

Lastly, the key to asking for a raise and getting it is projecting the right body language. “For starters, you should always make eye contact with your manager while you talk about your data, performance, and other reasons why you deserve a raise,” says Brian Munce, Managing Director at Audacia Home.

Strong eye contact displays confidence and certainty: two traits that all managers prize in their employees,” says Benjamin Earley, CEO of HOLT. “Making eye contact also requires your manager to pay attention to what you are saying, making it less likely that they will look away or busy themselves with other tasks.”

Similarly, you should be direct in your language and presentation. Don’t hesitate when asking for a raise, nor should you meander around the topic. “Ask for what you think you deserve, give your boss a firm handshake no matter what they say, and set up with your back straight,” says Susan K. Shaffer,    President of Pneuma Nitric Oxide. By being direct and displaying such self-confidence, you’ll make it more likely that your boss will approve your request for a raise by sheer force of personality alone.

All in all, asking for a raise at work is a matter of timing, consistency, and presentation. If you nail these three aspects, you’ll be more likely to get your raise request approved and finally make more money with each upcoming paycheck.