I have been pretty stagnant at my company for the past two years. Meaning, I haven’t seen a significant bump in my salary since 2016. At the time, I chose the flexibility to move around and work remotely over the money, and it worked. The work perks outweighed my hunger for a higher salary, ya know? But now that I am back in the office on a more regular basis, and plan to move closer to the heart of the Bay Area hustle and bustle, something has to change.
In the past, I’ve been pretty lucky in that I’ve always received a 10% raise without having to ask for it. But now that I’m two years in without a significant bump, it got me thinking, what’s the best way to ask for a raise that you and your boss can both feel comfortable about?
I have an annual review coming up in a couple of weeks, so I’ll have the chance to really put my money where my mouth is (pun intended). Here are six tips on asking for a raise;
1) Know your worth — The truth of the matter is: they can always hire someone younger, more eager and less expensive. That being said, it’s important to know your worth. For me, I’m one of the few employees at my (swim-based) company that actually has a deep competitive swim background and a knack for writing. It would be hard to replace me and my knowledge of the sport, and I know that. Before going in to a meeting with your boss, make sure you know exactly what you’re bringing to the table and how much your expertise is benefiting the company as a whole. Write it down, if it helps.
2) Research the industry — Chances are, there’s a company out there that pays more than what you’re making, for a pretty comparable job title. Do your homework. Research like-minded businesses and their salary ranges. You can casually use this as leverage when discussing your raise. At the very least, it’s a good idea to be educated on the industry, and to have an idea of what you could be making elsewhere.
3) Be hungry for success, but not ignorant — If you whole-heartedly believe that you deserve more money, ask for it. However, don’t ask for a raise just because you want more money. It’s important to understand that your success in life isn’t necessary defined by your income. You should be getting paid based on your professional performance, not because you have champagne taste on a beer budget. Don’t be ignorant and self-righteous when meeting with your boss, it will likely backfire.
4) Bring the facts — To piggyback off of number 1, knowing your worth, you should also be prepared with a list of campaigns and responsibilities you’ve recently taken on. If you have added more to your workload, or if you’re managing more colleagues and campaigns, you should be compensated accordingly. Go in to the meeting with a list of your new(er) responsibilities. Chances are your boss already knows them, but bringing them up in conversation opens the door to the discussion of a higher wage.
5) Stand your ground — This is not the time to be passive aggressive. Be respectful, but stand your ground. You know what you deserve, so go after it.
6) Highball, but be realistic — The first rule of negotiations is to take the high road, literally. If you think you deserve $100k, ask for $115k. You should always highball your price, but be realistic in what you’re asking for. Take your worth, responsibilities, company’s success, and the industry norm in to consideration, and go in to the meeting with a number in mind. Being prepared, and ready to negotiate, is key.