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What not to say when asking for a raise?

Here’s the Right Way to Ask for a Raise, According to a Career Expert

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Asking for a raise ranks pretty high on the ‘tough work convos’ scale. But unless you plan to leave your job because you’re unhappy with your pay (which more than 50% of employees do) , it’s time to ask for what you want. And with the right prep work and tips, you can up your chances of your boss signing off on a raise. Cha-ching.

To help you figure out how to ask for a raise, we talked to filmmaker, career advisor, and #CareerTok pro Erin McGoff aka @erinmcgoff . She’s gained a following of over 2.3 million people by giving tips and tricks to help TikTokers crush their career goals. Here’s her take on asking for a raise.

How can I prepare before asking for a raise?

First: Embrace that drop-in-your-stomach feeling you might get when thinking about asking for a raise. “I think asking for a raise is scary because you’re making yourself vulnerable,” McGoff tells theSkimm. “But I always say, if it’s not a little awkward, you’re doing it wrong.” Psst. take a deep breath and remember that you can be nervous and successful. Before you hit send on that meeting invite to your boss, here’s how to do your homework.

Know your number

McGoff says it’s always a good idea to give the exact salary you want. Example: «I’m requesting a 10% raise, adjusting my salary to $63,500/year.» If you need help figuring out how much to ask for, try a site like Glassdoor or Salary to find the average salary for your role. And factor in your recent accomplishments — because good performance can lead to a salary boost. If you have coworkers who work in a similar role, it might be worth talking to them about salary , as long as the convo doesn’t make you uncomfortable.

Watch your language

A pro tip from McGoff: Calling it a ‘raise’ is out. Calling it a ‘salary adjustment’ is in. “You aren’t asking them to do you any favors,” she explains. “You’re simply asking them to adjust your pay to be appropriate with the work you’re already doing.”

Be specific

Unless you report to an executive, your manager will have to get your request approved. McGoff’s advice: “Come with your case, and ask for something specific. Make it impossible for them to say no, and be aware that they will most likely have to get this approved themselves.”

Any advice on when to ask for a raise?

“An annual review is an excellent time because that time is already set aside for your manager to take a look at your performance,” McGoff advises. But you don’t have to wait for your annual review to ask. McGoff gave us other times to ask: After you successfully finish a project, when the company has had a successful quarter, or if/when you get an offer from another company.

When’s a not-so-great time to ask for that pay bump? After layoffs, a bad quarter, or when your boss is particularly stressed.

Got it. What should I say when I’m asking for a raise?

Starting the convo can be the hardest part. Use the template from McGoff below and tweak it based on your own experience and needs:

First, thank you for taking a moment to talk with me today. I’d like to discuss an adjustment to my salary to more fairly reflect the work that I am doing.


Considering all of that, in addition to the industry standards for someone with my skill set, I am requesting a [PERCENTAGE] raise, equaling [DESIRED SALARY].


Asking for a raise at work can be a tough convo to initiate. But timing and a good script can make a world of difference. And not just in your paycheck, but the gender pay gap , too. Just remember to embrace that scary feeling and hit send on that meeting invite.

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You Deserve a Raise

Let’s be honest: You deserve a raise. What next? You’ve rehearsed your elevator pitch a thousand times. You’ve conquered your fear of asking your boss for that fateful meeting. You’re finally ready. But is now the right time?

There is plenty of great advice out there on how to ask for a raise. As an HR professional, however, I see too many employees who don’t take when to ask for a raise into consideration. By getting the timing right, your request is much more likely to be granted. Read on for answers to frequently asked questions regarding the best and worst times to ask for a raise. (Plus, why negotiating your salary with a new company is a must!)

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How soon after starting a new job can I ask for a raise?

How many times have you thought, “This wasn’t in the job description?” Within the first few months, people often discover that what they signed up for isn’t exactly what they’re doing. The scope of your role may have expanded or deepened. You may be taking on work you’d rather not do, but you’re doing it anyway. It only seems fair to get a raise so your salary reflects your work, right? Not exactly.

Whether you work at a startup or an established corporation, today’s companies have to evolve rapidly to stay ahead. With that, employees are increasingly required to evolve with the company. The extra work you’re doing now is certainly evidence that you deserve higher compensation. Nonetheless, you should not ask for a raise in the first three months on a job.

Can I ask for a raise if my workload has increased?

While companies expect employees to work hard and evolve quickly, they also have to hold up their end of the relationship. Perhaps you’ve taken over projects from a coworker who left or stepped into a management role. If you’ve taken on much more work than you initially signed up for, you deserve to be compensated for your increased workload. However, timing for this is delicate.

Let’s play out a scenario: You’re in a one-on-one with your manager when they inform you they’d like you to manage a few colleagues because you’re doing such a good job. Great! Or is it? Becoming a manager means that in addition to getting your own work done, you’ll also have to spend time making sure your direct reports successfully complete their work. If you accept the added responsibility, you should prove to your manager that you can handle it, as well as prove to yourself that you want it, before asking for a raise.

Should I ask for a raise if I haven’t had one in over a year?

Many companies choose to reward employees for their dedication by providing periodic raises tied to an employee’s length of service. In some industries, employees expect annual salary increases. If your company does not automatically increase your salary each year, you’ll just have to advocate for it yourself.

If you are confident your performance is top-notch, but you still haven’t received a raise in over a year, you have a strong case to ask for one. As you approach a work anniversary, or after a significant amount of time has lapsed since your last raise, set up a meeting with your manager to discuss a raise. In the meeting, point out how long it has been since your last raise. Given how quickly employees voluntarily change jobs these days, your multi-year tenure is a testament to your commitment to the role and good support for a raise.

Is a performance review an appropriate opportunity to ask for a raise?

For most companies, performance review season is also the time they officially consider raises. That makes it one of the best times to ask for a raise. However, the performance review season isn’t just one meeting. You may have to conduct and submit a self-review. The financial officer may give your manager or department head a budget before reviews begin. From my viewpoint in HR, there are many moving parts to a successful performance review season. Because of this, there is still the question of when during the performance review season you should ask for a raise.

If you can find out exactly when your company’s annual budget review is, make sure to express your desire for a raise before your manager has to submit their raise requests. If you don’t know your company’s raise process, time your ask about a month before performance review season starts. Note that you may not receive the raise request right away. However, asking early will give your manager enough time to factor it in to their budget request.

That said, your manager has their own work and perhaps several other direct reports to consider. Do not assume they will remember your request. Even if you’ve asked before performance review season began, you should remind them of your raise request again during your performance review.

Should I ask for a raise after a significant achievement?

With luck, there will be times in your career when you make a significant achievement that goes above and beyond expectations in your role. As long as you’ve been at your company for more than three months, and you haven’t received a raise in the previous three months, making a significant achievement is a great time to ask for a raise.

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Your office capital is high immediately after you’ve landed a big client, secured a major grant, or introduced a significant cost-cutting measure. Within a few weeks of your big achievement, you should use this leverage to politely, but firmly, request a raise that reflects the additional financial value you’ve provided.

Should I ask for a raise if I’m making less than my colleagues?

Some companies set up pay bands for certain jobs based on the level of skill and responsibility the role requires. You may find out that your salary is lower than the pay band the company has established for someone with your workload. Alternately, you may discover that a colleague who does the same work as you is being more highly compensated. If you have evidence that you are underpaid, and you are confident that you are successfully executing your role, it is a good time to ask for a raise.

I’ve received a higher offer from another company — can I use this as leverage in asking for a raise?

When push comes to shove, many employers would rather give someone a raise than see them leave. We’re in a competitive job market, and the expense of replacing someone who has departed is often much more than the cost of giving an employee a raise in order to retain them. So, if you’ve received a higher offer from another company, you’re in a strong, albeit tricky, position to ask for a raise.

The tricky part is that there is no guarantee your employer will give you a raise once they find out you’ve received a higher offer. In fact, this tactic can backfire, particularly if you were just using the other company’s offer as a bargaining tool and were never planning to accept it.

Your employer might be upset to discover that you’ve been spending time pursuing outside offers. They may grant your raise but start to question your commitment. As a result, you may get passed over for prime assignments or promotions. At worst, they could not only reject your request for a raise, but also terminate your employment.

If you find yourself in the position of having a higher offer from another company, tread lightly. That offer is definitely strong evidence that you deserve a market value-based raise. Nonetheless, you should only ask for one if you are comfortable with the possibility of accepting the competing offer.

What time of day or week should I ask for a raise?

There are no hard and fast rules on the best time of day or week to ask for a raise. Ultimately, once you’ve decided that the general timing is right to ask for a raise, the best time of day or week depends on your manager’s personal quirks and patterns.

Over the next few days, notice when your manager is at their calmest and most content. Or reflect back on times you’ve had exceptionally positive interactions with them. You might notice that your manager is often frazzled in the mornings and happier after lunch. In that case, be sure to request a meeting around 2 or 3 p.m. You might also notice that your manager is distracted and leaves early on Fridays. Or perhaps your manager locks herself in her office to manage inbox overload on Mondays. Whatever the personal quirk, you should ask on a day when they typically have more time to consider your request.

Should I negotiate my salary before accepting a new offer?

OK, so this isn’t technically a raise, but negotiating an offer involves a similar process. Note that the offer stage is far and away the most effective time to increase your compensation. People can get 20%, 50% and even 100% increases by applying for and accepting a role at a different company, when it is rare they’d even get a 10% raise staying in the same role at their current company.

The company’s initial offer is an attempt to establish your starting salary. On your part, you might be hoping to convince them to increase the offer. Of course, you have more leverage asking before you accept an offer rather than after. Be honest with yourself: Will you be happy taking the role at the salary they offer? If not, now is the best time to advocate for yourself.

If you don’t ask for what you want now, you’ll risk starting the role with resentment toward your new employer. This risk is heightened if you find out that some of your new colleagues negotiated their offers and are making more money than you for the same work. Unfortunately, many people are concerned they’ll appear greedy if they negotiate a job offer. This fear is especially common among women. As long as a company does not explicitly state they do not negotiate offers, it’s fair game.

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You may feel uncomfortable asking your future boss for more money before you’ve even started. If so, you can begin the conversation by speaking with the recruiter you’ve worked with throughout the interview process. Especially once you’ve made it far enough in the process to receive an offer, the recruiter is your ally. They should be able to coach you through whether an increase is possible and how much wiggle room there is in the budget for the role.

Remember, if you’re at the stage of negotiating an offer, there’s a reason. Whatever the reason, you liked the role enough to devote time and energy to interviewing with that company. As you consider asking for more money, it’s important to remember that there is more to a job than salary.

Several studies have questioned whether more money actually makes our jobs more enjoyable. Related research has found that other benefits, like flexibility and purpose, are more important to job satisfaction than salary. Instead of just asking for a raise on the initial salary offer, now is a great time to negotiate benefits that might improve your job satisfaction even more, like extra vacation time or the ability to avoid your commute a few days a week by working from home.

When it comes to real estate, the popular saying is location, location, location. When it comes to asking for a raise, timing, timing, timing could be just as crucial. Keep these tips in mind as you navigate asking your boss for a raise.

Kelli Newman Mason is VP of People Operations at New Knowledge. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and their two children.

How to Ask for a Raise (Email and In-Person Scripts)

when to ask for a raise - best times, scripts, examples

In this article, we’re going to cover how to ask for a raise when you are underpaid (or when you just want a higher salary), with examples and sample scripts you can follow. We’ll also look at when to ask, because that’s equally important. (While there’s no exact best time to ask for a raise, there are some very important “Rules” you should follow before you go ask).

Let’s get started…

How to Ask for a Raise: Script and Steps to Follow

1. Set up a time to ask for your pay raise

Asking for a pay increase is an important discussion and deserves its own meeting. So rule #1 is don’t try to bring up the discussion at the end of another meeting, a weekly check-in, etc. To schedule a time to bring up your request for a higher salary, I recommend sending an email or going to your boss face-to-face. Either way, the message is similar.

Example of what to say when setting up a meeting to ask for a raise:

“Hi Amy,

Do you have 15-20 minutes available today to talk in private? There’s something I’d like to discuss with you. “

If you decide to stop by your manager’s office and tell them in-person that you’d like to discuss something, just make sure you’re prepared with how you plan to ask for the increase in pay… because there’s a small chance they’ll just say, “I’m free right now, actually. Why don’t you step into my office and we can talk?”

This is why I prefer sending an email to begin the process of asking your boss for a higher salary.

2. Your opening line when asking for a raise

Once the meeting starts, your opening line is important. You want to seem calm, confident, and relaxed. And you NEVER want to sound apologetic, so don’t say something like, “Sorry for taking your time. Here’s a script you can follow when beginning the conversation:

“Hi Amy. Thanks for meeting with me. Things have been going really well and I’m excited about my role here. There’s one thing I wanted to discuss, though.”

That’s a good opener to lead directly into the discussion of your salary or hourly pay, and the raise that you hope to achieve.

3. Make it clear that you’re asking for a higher salary

Once the meeting begins and you’ve delivered your opening line, it’s time to tell them you were hoping to discuss a potential increase in pay. Don’t beat around the bush or leave them guessing. Example script: What to say when asking for a raise:

“I’d like to discuss my compensation. Based on ___ and ___ (reasons), I thought it was a good time to ask for an increase in base compensation. The amount I was hoping for is ___.”

Note that you can also ask an open-ended question when you ask for more money, instead of asking for a specific number. Here’s a sample of how that would sound:

“I’d like to discuss my compensation. Based on ___ and ___, I thought it was a good time to ask for an increase in base compensation. What are your thoughts on this?”

4. Back your request up with facts and data

You always want to provide real, business-related reasons why you deserve higher pay. (And not personal reasons like, “my commute is long” or “I have a lot of student loans to pay off.”) So after telling your manager why you wanted to meet and what you want, it’s best to provide some logical arguments.

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Reasons you can use when asking for a pay increase:

  • Workload or recent increase in workload
  • Your direct value to the company. (How have you helped them save money, save time, make more money, grow faster, solve problems, etc.)
  • The fact that you’ve learned/improved since your current salary was agreed upon. If you were hired 1-2 years ago, this is a great argument because you’re probably more productive now in your job.
  • Any salary research you’ve done that supports your case for more pay. Recommended sites: Payscale,, and LinkedIn’s salary tool). Make sure to gather salary data for your specific city when researching. That way, your boss can’t say, “Well, those are national averages, and we don’t base our local salaries on national figures.”

5. How much to ask for (hourly or salary)

A raise of 10-20% is considered reasonable both for hourly and salary employees. This is the top end of what you should ask for. (And the truth is, you’re more likely to get a 20% increase when changing jobs completely. Employers often give current employees lower amounts when it comes to pay increases. But 20% is the top end of what I’d recommend asking for). If you feel 20% is too high for your situation, then 10-15% is a good number to aim for. You don’t want to aim too low when asking for your increased salary, because if they counter-offer, you won’t be left with much of an increase at all.

So keep that in mind when deciding how much to ask for in your raise.

6. Always sound excited about your job

While asking for more money, you also want to show gratitude and appreciation for the job. You never want to make threats or sound unhappy. Tell them you’re excited about how the role’s going, how much you’re learning, etc., and then simply make a logical argument for why you feel you’re worth more and deserve more than your current pay structure.

Other salary resources:

  • Why you should negotiate for base salary and not bonuses
  • How to ask for a promotion at work
  • How to answer “what is your desired salary” in job applications and interviews

7. It’s better to ask in-person than in writing

A lot of people come to me asking for a letter sample or script to ask for a raise in writing. I don’t recommend doing this, even though it’s tempting because it’s lower stress. Most employers and most managers will respect you more and give you a higher increase in pay if you meet with them in-person. You’ll also be able to gauge their reaction. For example, maybe you ask for 20% and you see them become anxious immediately. They might say, “You’re a great worker and I love having you here, but I just don’t have the budget for that.” You could say, “I understand. I enjoy being here, too! How much could you do?” That’s an example script of how this could play out well in-person. You couldn’t gauge their reaction or have that good, back-and-forth discussion if you asked for a raise in a letter.

However, if you still prefer to ask for a salary increase for an email, here’s a sample template you can use:

How to Ask Your Boss for a Raise in Writing: Email Script

Hello ,

I’m writing to discuss my salary with you. I feel my role is going well and I’m enjoying the work, however, it’s been since my current pay was determined, and I feel I’ve become more productive and valuable since then, including accomplishing and . I wanted to ask about increasing my base salary to reflect this.

Is there any flexibility in the budget to provide an increase?

Thanks for your time,

While I still recommend having this conversation in-person and only using email to set up a time to meet, the script above will work as an effective salary increase email to your boss if you prefer to do everything in writing. You can also ask for a specific amount to be added to your salary, however, I prefer asking an open-ended question like the script above (“Is there any flexibility in the budget to provide an increase?”) This puts the pressure on them to come up with their best possible offer.

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So that’s how to ask for a raise in writing.

When to Ask for a Raise

The best time to ask for a raise is when your work has been going well, your boss is in a good mood, and you’ve been in your current position for at least six months with good performance (and a good performance review or annual review if applicable). All of those factors will boost your chances of hearing “yes.”

Let’s look at these factors individually below so you can figure out whether it’s a good time for YOU to ask. Also, I’ll reveal one more “hidden” timing factor that could work to your advantage in certain types of jobs.

Recent Work, Annual Reviews and Other Performance Reviews

First, you always want to ask when you’ve been performing well in your job (and when you’ve been in your current job for a while. Don’t ask for a higher salary when you’re new in a role and still learning!)

I brought up this topic on LinkedIn and some people in my network gave great responses in terms of the best time to ask:

how to ask for a pay raise samples

So look at your 1-2 most recent performance reviews, and last annual review when deciding whether it’s time to ask. Your chances of hearing “yes” will be much better if you’ve been producing great work for the company.

The more you’re helping them, the more they’ll be willing to pay you!

Your Manager or Boss’ Mood

It’s better to ask when your boss is calm, relaxed, and in a good mood. So after thinking about how your own work has been going, think about your boss’s own situation. While you can’t always know whether they’re relaxed or stressed, you can observe them and gain clues.

Pay attention to this, and if your boss seems particularly stressed or busy, consider waiting a week or two to ask for a meeting.

Your Tenure in Position & and Time Since Last Pay Increase

You ideally want to have been in your current role for at least 6-12 months. And it’s best if you haven’t received (or asked for) a raise in the prior 6-12 months, too. If you just received a bump in pay a few months ago, you should wait for 6-12 months and plan on asking for a bigger increase next time so that you’re satisfied.

Your Employer’s Reliance on You

Here’s what one of my colleagues on LinkedIn said about timing your ask, and it’s an interesting point:

when to ask for a raise - best time screenshot

So this is one more factor you can use to your advantage. However – you should never give a threat or ultimatum (or imply one). That’s not what is being suggested here.

If you ask as a threat or ultimatum, you may get more pay in the short-term but you’ll damage your relationship with your boss in the long-term and maybe even set yourself up to get replaced after the project is done. So don’t threaten when asking!

Time of Year

As mentioned in our article about the best times of year to apply to a new job , January and February are when key staff return to the office after the holidays and when companies get their new budgets, so it’s definitely a good time to ask for a raise, too.

However, the time of year isn’t as important when asking for a raise. One of my colleagues on LinkedIn said it best:

the best time to ask for a raise

The bottom line is – you shouldn’t wait weeks or months to ask if the other factors above look good.

Time of Day

The best time of day to ask for a raise is 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. You should not ask for your salary increase before your boss has had a chance to get settled in the morning and catch up on emails, and it’s best to avoid asking at the very end of the day, too.

As long as you pick a time toward the middle of the day, you’ll be fine.

Beyond this, there isn’t one hour that’s best – it really depends on what’s going to make YOU feel confident and relaxed, since that’s a big factor in how the conversation plays out. If you prefer to get it out of the way in the morning, that’s a great option. If you prefer to wait until the afternoon so that there are only a few hours left after you ask, that’s perfectly fine, too.

If you follow the tips and scripts/examples above, you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of getting a pay increase, whether you’re underpaid in your job, have had a recent increase in workload, or simply think you could be earning more!

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