**This post has been updated for 2021**

Are you looking to ask for a raise at work? With the pandemic still going full force in the U.S. and unemployment rates still high, asking for a raise right now may seem like a not so great idea.  After all, if you are still lucky enough to have a job, you may just want to lay low.  With that being said, all is not lost.  If you feel you have outperformed yourself, there are always ways to get recognition for your efforts.  It may not be a monetary raise but alternate benefits can be good too. Only you know your company and whether now would be an ideal time to ask for a raise.  If your company is in survival mode, you may want to hold back for now.

Here are five things to think about when you ask for a raise


ask for a raise


1. Be open

When you are thinking about asking for a raise, you want to also give thought to what you really value.  Although more money is obviously your first objective, you may not get it.  Depending on the company you work for, there are typically policies in place when it comes to pay ranges and certain job positions.  Find out what those policies look like for your company before entering a meeting about a raise.  Once armed with the correct information, be prepared to discuss what you need to do within your job to push you up to that next pay level.

In addition, a pay raise is great but don’t forget about benefits.  If a pay raise is not on the table, what about more vacation time or flexible work arrangements.  Continuing education is another great benefit to explore.  Gain more knowledge in your field and that could be a way to get you that raise.

2. Pick the right time

Picking the right time to ask for a raise is just as important as preparing for the meeting itself.  Her are some of the right times to ask:

  • Annual performance reviews – Most companies do an annual performance review and it is the perfect time to ask for a raise since the topic is already about your performance.
  • When an important project wraps up – Proving your worth through your work is the key to successfully getting a raise.
  • Pick a time when your boss is in good spirits – The last thing you want to do is show up in your boss’s office asking for money when they just got chewed out by their boss.

3. Know how much to ask for

Do you know how much your position is worth? Lucky for you, there are tons of websites like Dice, and Payscale.  You should also check out actual job postings to get an even more accurate idea.

4. Practice beforehand

You need to practice sounding confident before asking for a raise.  Confidence is key.  Once you know how much to realistically ask for and you have your accomplishments rehearsed, you need to start practicing what you will say.

One of the best pieces of advice to practice when asking for a raise is to do it with gratitude.  When asking for a raise through gratitude, it helps to create a positive atmosphere. When you show gratitude, you are telling your boss that you are not just in there for yourself.  Practice what you are going to say enough times so that it flows easily.

5. Be ready to hear “no”

There is always the possibility that you may be turned down for the raise.  Depending on the reason you are given, you need to think about what to do next.  Are their reasons for rejecting your request correct?  If so, ask them what you need to do to get the raise the next time it comes up. If their reasons are unfounded, perhaps it is time to change your job.

Other perks to negotiate

So you are thinking of asking for a raise, but you are pretty sure the answer will be no.  What else can you ask for that may get you a “yes”.   Things like a flexible work schedule, a company-paid cell phone, paid-time off are all perks you may be able to score. From a retention perspective, agreeing to one of these benefits will keep you on board and ultimately enhance the company’s bottom line.  Here are some other ideas for perks you can consider requesting. 

  • Payment for a work from home setup
  • Loan repayment
  • Assistance with education costs
  • Membership to an athletic facility
  • Commuting benefits
  • Stock options/equity
  • Assistance with child care
  • Cash for achievements like earning a certification

If the answer is no, stay motivated

If you don’t get that raise, it can be hard to stay motivated at your job. With that being said, there are ways to keep yourself charged up at work.  Perhaps you can take a new responsibility.  Although it will be a new challenge, new experiences at work can help keep the motivation up and help fuel personal growth.  Additionally, connecting with your co-workers can also be a way to maintain motivation.  It can provide a sense of camaraderie and support. When people feel like they are part of a team, they feel a need to contribute.