The Right Way to Ask for a Raise

The Right Way to Ask for a Raise

You’re ready to take the next step in your career and ask for a raise. So what’s the best way to ask for a raise and get a definite yes from your boss? 

If you’re feeling nervous about asking for a raise, you’re not alone. Making a case for yourself and your work can be stress inducing for even the most seasoned professional. 

While asking for a raise does take a certain level of skill, you can do it successfully with the proper planning and preparation. 

Below, we share tips and ideas on how to ask for a raise the right way, so that you can go into your meeting with confidence and get the compensation you deserve. 

Your “asking for a raise” action plan 

Want to ask for a raise? Then you need to start taking action and laying the groundwork in advance. You can’t negotiate your salary without first making sure that your performance is worthy of a raise. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Prepare. First, give yourself an ample amount of time to demonstrate success and make gains. Depending on your position and where you work, six months to a year should be enough time to make real progress.
  • Meet with your boss and identify goals. In this interview, finance writer Ramit Sethi recommends meeting with your boss early on to discuss your performance goals. This way, you’ll have clear and specific goals to work on and tangible results to point to when it’s time to ask for a raise. 
  • Set deadlines. You don’t want six months to pass by before you start working on your performance goals. Set deadlines and create mini goals to stay on track. For example, if a performance goal is to bring in X amount of clients by the end of the year, then you’ll want to make sure that you’re building relationships with Y number of clients each month.
  • Have regular check-ins with your boss. Your boss is a busy person and has a million things going on. Keep them apprised of your progress with weekly or monthly check-ins. You can send them a weekly status email that captures what you did that week. Or arrange bi-weekly or monthly one-on-one meetings to discuss your projects. Regular check-ins are a great way to get your boss to invest in you as well as get valuable feedback from them. 

Assemble the evidence

During this time, you’ll also want to start logging your wins and accomplishments. It’s easy to forget everything you’ve accomplished over the course of six months or a year. You’ll want to record your wins now so that you’ll have plenty of evidence to draw from when you ask your boss for a raise. 

Here are some ideas for what you’ll want to include: 

  • Growth. When asking for a raise, you’ll want to make sure that the numbers and quantitative evidence back you up. Did you increase the number of your company’s social media followers? Bring in more donors? Go from managing two people to ten? Add these examples to your list. 
  • Initiative. Take note of the different ways you took initiative at work. Did you launch your company’s newsletter? Take it upon yourself to mentor the interns and assistants? Introduce your boss to a key partner? Examples of being proactive will help you make your case for a raise. 
  • Above and beyond. Jot down all the times you went above and beyond in your role. Maybe it’s the time you produced a large-scale event on your own  Or provided exceptional service to a customer. 
  • Compliments file. Save any emails or messages from your boss, coworkers, and clients that praise your work. It’s so easy to dwell on past mistakes but we never remember the things we did well. 

Now that you’ve compiled your wins you will have plenty of stats to refer to when you ask for a raise. And best of all? When you see all your achievements, contributions, and compliments stacked up on paper, you will be super confident heading into your meeting. 

Arrange a meeting with your boss 

You don’t want to confront your boss in the hallway or catch them off guard when asking for a raise. Set up a one-on-one meeting so that you can have a proper conversation in private.

In terms of scheduling, here are some times when it might be more favorable to ask for a raise.

  • After a big win. Maybe you landed a big client or accomplished a high-profile project. Take advantage of your upswing and ask for a raise around this time.
  • During a performance review. Since you’ll be discussing your performance anyway, it will make sense to bring up a raise at your annual review. 
  • During a less busy time. You probably don’t want to schedule your meeting during a hectic time at the office. You don’t want your boss to be stressed or preoccupied by their work. Try to get a sense of the rhythms of your boss’s schedule and arrange a meeting during an off-peak time. 

What to say during the meeting

You don’t want to ask for a raise upfront. In a business negotiation such as this, you want to set up your ask the right way. 

This is why it’s advantageous to schedule your meeting around a big win or during a performance review. You can bring up your ask more organically. 


I really enjoyed working on project x and the feedback I received from clients was really positive (include an example here). And I wondered if now would be a good time to discuss my role and compensation. 

Depending on the flow of the conversation, you might want to pepper in examples from your “wins” package. Mention 2-3 things that you accomplished or examples of your growth. 

Have a back-up plan

If the company is unable to give you a raise at this time, then see if you can be compensated in other ways. Maybe you can ask for a higher title or a remote working option or additional annual leave days. 

With clear goals and a solid action plan, you can ask for a raise the right way and help ensure a successful outcome.

Written by JiJi Lee.

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