Asking for a raise: the basics

By Sarah Ash

You’ve found a job you love. You go into work each day, and suddenly the problems and challenges you’ve faced at work in the past don’t seem so daunting anymore. You look forward to working with your peers and finding success together. Even when the going gets tough, you find new and innovative ways to overcome challenges. And when you clock out at the end of the day, you feel sense of pride towards everything you got done and feel inspired to challenge yourself to improve even more tomorrow.

If you find yourself feeling this way at work, and you’re consistently performing above your job expectations, it might be a good time to consider asking for a raise. We’ve put together some basic guidelines, so you can feel empowered to advocate for yourself!


Gather facts/evidence that shows your hard work!

No matter where you are in your career with the company you work for, it is a great idea to document any major accomplishments that you are a part of.  Make sure to include as many specifics as you can including the who, what, where, when and why of the accomplishment.

If you use email at your job, save any emails that demonstrate your success. Some examples of these emails include positive feedback from any supervisor, thank you emails from peers, and emails that demonstrate a time where you took initiative to solve a problem.


Ask for feedback often, and follow up with the people who give it to you

Asking for feedback can feel awkward at first. It’s not always fun or easy to hear about what you could be doing better, and sometimes it is hard not to take it personally if you are passionate about your job. But asking for feedback is a great way to show that you are looking for constant improvement in your role. This shows drive and a strong work ethic-both of which are great reasoning points when asking for a raise.

After receiving feedback from your supervisor or peer, set SMART goals to attain it. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound. Track your progress and report back to the person who gave you the feedback. Most importantly? Write about your experience in a journal or even on a computer if you have access to one. This ties in to our previous tip- save anything that shows your growth in your role and career!


Calm your nerves by practicing your proposal

If possible, it is best to ask to meet with you supervisor in person to make a case for a raise. It shows a bit of formality, and respect for yourself and the company, vs. sending an email or calling. You can simply explain that you’d like to talk to them about your performance!

Gather all your documentation into something you can reference and physically present when you meet with your supervisor. A word document is a good choice since you can print it off and email it, as well, if they ask you to. If you don’t have access to word, google docs will allow you to type something up and you can save and print it just like word.


Once you’ve got everything in hand: practice in front of a mirror exactly what you’ll say! This will feel strange at first, but the more you go through exactly what you’ll say and present, the more natural it will feel when you are in the moment.  Not sure where to start? Try some of these:


“I have learned a lot in the past (number) months, and I am proud of these specific accomplishments….”

“I am really enjoying my role and I wanted to find out how I could be even better at my job so I asked (coworker) for some feedback and as a result I improved my ability to (reference the feedback)

“I feel that I have gone above and beyond my job duties. One example of this is the time when (talk about a documented experience where you got positive feedback from a boss)


Don’t get discouraged if you don’t receive a raise right away

After you move through all your documentation, go for the gold! State that because of everything you presented, you respectfully ask for a pay increase. How much should you ask for? It depends on how long you have been with the company and what the standard pay rate is for your role. This article from Indeed gives some resources on where to find out this information, and the article even gives you a script you can follow through your whole conversation.

Remember: the worst-case scenario is that your supervisor says no! If that is the case, ask what else you can do to improve in your role and what kinds of specific things your supervisor would like to see you accomplish. In the end, you still have a portfolio prepared that shows all your best accomplishments at work and that is a great thing to have on hand and to be proud of!

You can always make a case for a raise again after you reevaluate what your supervisor wants to see from you. If you do not think there is going to be an opportunity to get a raise after carefully approaching it multiple times, then exploring other jobs may be a better option.

If you do get the raise? Congratulations! Enjoy that extra money in your pocket and treat yourself- you’ve earned it!


At Employment Solutions, we want to help you find long term employment that will allow you achieve your career goals, whether that is to make more money or learn new skills! Make an appointment with one of our staffing specialists today.