Want a Raise? Do These 2 Easy Things to Give Yourself the Best Possible Chance

Most workers who ask for a raise, get one. The problem? Less than 4 in 10 ask. Here's how to make your case for a pay bump.

(Photo: Galina Zhigalova

Welcome to Day 18 of our 30-Day Easy Money Makeover! Every day in April, we’re bringing you strategies to help you improve, and feel more confident about, your money situation. Follow along and see the rest of the calendar here .

Don’t wait for your boss to notice that you deserve a raise. Take the initiative, starting with two key moves to help you get ready.

Asking for a pay bump can be an effective tactic: Seven out of 10 workers who ask ultimately end up getting a raise, according to 2018 data from Payscale , based on surveys of more than 160,000 employees. But most of us aren’t popping the question. Only 37% of U.S. workers have asked their boss for a raise.

Why? That ask can be intimidating. In the Payscale report, 22% of workers hadn’t requested a raise because they are uncomfortable negotiating salary, and another 12% didn’t want to be perceived negatively for asking.

How you prepare to make your case can boost your confidence. How much should you ask for? Do you want a promotion, or just a pay raise? There are a lot of things to consider.

Increase your chances of success by doing two important things before you even breach the subject with your employer: Do your homework, and then ask for a one-on-one.

Step 1: Gather your evidence

Before you ask for a raise, you need to know what you want—or at least, what you should ask for in terms of a target salary or juiced-up benefits. That will likely require some legwork.

Start by getting a sense of what fair compensation is in your field, based on factors like your city, level of experience, and company. There are plenty of salary tools to help run those numbers, including Salary.com, Glassdoor, Indeed.com, GetRaised.com, Payscale, and LinkedIn.

Get real numbers from real people, too. “Speak to former bosses, peers, former colleagues,” says Vicki Salemi, a career expert for job-search site Monster. Professional organizations within your industry can also be a good resource, she says: “Ask to speak to an officer. Tell them you are doing research and based on your level of experience and geography, what a ballpark range is for salary.”

Once you have a number in mind, starting crafting a pitch. List your accomplishments, offering specifics on how your work has benefited the company.

Step 2: Ask for a face-to-face meeting

Next, ask your boss or manager for a one-on-one, face-to-face meeting.

You don’t need to say what it’s for—just make the ask. This might spook them (in a way, it’s an equivalent to your boyfriend or girlfriend saying “we need to talk”), and may even get the wheels turning in their head.

“This isn’t a conversation to have over the phone, email, or instant messaging,” says Salemi. The key is to get the decision-maker into a one-on-one situation where they can’t easily steer the conversation away from money.

Once that meeting is on your calendar, now practice your pitch so you’ll feel confident. We’ll be back on Day 26 of the Money Makeover with strategies to help you seal the deal.

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