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How to ask for a raise

Want to ask for a raise this year? Here’s what you need to know.

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Are you hoping for a raise this year? You’re not alone. Many employers are boosting salaries in 2022, especially in response to post-pandemic career switching — and many employees are eager to use their extra income to cover the costs of inflation or save for long-term financial goals.

However, not everyone who asks for a raise will get one — especially if they don’t know how to ask. With a potential recession around the corner, an employee who isn’t prepared to prove their value to their employer before the end of the year may miss out on an opportunity to get a salary boost.

“Asking for a raise can feel uncomfortable,” explains Matt Logan, a Certified Finanical Planner™ professional based in Greensboro, North Carolina, “but it’s an important step in your career journey.” It’s also a necessary one, especially if you want to set aside enough money to build an emergency fund, save for your children’s education or plan for retirement.

That’s why we asked Logan for his best advice to help you get your raise this year. The process of asking for a raise can make many employees feel awkward, especially if they don’t know what to do. Here’s everything you need to know about setting up the meeting, preparing for the conversation and asking for the raise you deserve.

In this article:

Do your research

What’s the first step in asking for a raise? Knowing how much to ask for. “Have specific information about pay scales for your industry, role and position,” advises Logan. “Be sure that this information is realistic and fair.”

Whether you use salary data resources like Glassdoor to compare salary ranges or find tactful ways of asking your coworkers how much they make, you need to be prepared to request a realistic pay increase — both in terms of what your employer can afford and in terms of what you have to offer.

“An executive assistant in Southern California is going to demand higher pay than the same role in rural North Carolina,” Logan explains — and an executive assistant who spent the past two years successfully transitioning the C-suite into a functional remote workspace could demand a higher salary increase than an assistant who simply worked from home.

Demonstrate your value

Once you know how much you want to ask for, you need to be ready to prove you deserve a raise. Getting a raise in 2022 is all about demonstrating value — which often means writing down everything you’ve done to help the company succeed.

“Emphasize in specific terms the value you bring and the achievements you have been part of,” says Logan. “Brag a little.”

Why is it a good idea to create a written document listing your accomplishments? Your supervisor may be aware of your contributions, but they may have forgotten some of the specific work you did to exceed expectations — and they may need to be reminded of the results of your hard work, especially if those results can be expressed in dollar figures.

“Have you recently led a big project that has been profitable for the organization?” Logan asks. “Spell out the increased value.”

Think of this document like a resume — and prepare it just as carefully.

Prepare your supervisor for the conversation

What’s the best way to tell your supervisor that you’d like to ask for a raise? Logan suggests bringing up the topic before setting up the meeting — and giving your supervisor all of the documents they might need to help them make their decision.

“None of us like to be surprised or caught off guard,” says Logan. “I recommend mentioning to your employer that you would like to discuss your pay prior to the meeting. This tactic allows your supervisor to prepare for your conversation.”

Giving your supervisor time to prepare also shows that you respect their work — including the time it might take to evaluate your performance and consider your request. “It is fair to assume that your supervisor is overwhelmed and overworked,” Logan explains. Finding a good time for a performance review can only help.

By giving your supervisor all relevant information before the meeting, including your recent achievements and your desired pay increase, the conversation could run more smoothly. And, as Logan notes, preparing a supervisor by saying “I’d like to discuss my salary,” means that supervisor may be able to offer the desired raise more quickly.

Be flexible about the outcome

In the best-case scenario, your research and preparation around salary negotiation will lead you towards the raise you deserve. In other scenarios, you might find your request denied — or, in some cases, postponed.

“If the result is not what you desired,” says Logan, “think of it as not getting what you desired right now.”

Your employer may not have any more money for raises in 2022, for example — but might have opportunities for salary increases in 2023. If that’s the case, your supervisor may suggest reviewing your request at the beginning of the year, giving you the opportunity to spend the remainder of 2022 proving your value through outstanding work.

If you don’t get the raise you asked for, either in 2022 or early 2023, you may want to start the new year by looking for a new employer. If you’d prefer to stay with your current employer, start looking for opportunities to build your career within your company. Getting a new credential could make you more valuable to your employer, for example — as could taking on additional responsibilities that make you more valuable among your team.

You may also want to ask your supervisor if there are any opportunities to be promoted. “Ask to be considered for higher paying roles,” Logan suggests. If there’s no budget for a raise, you can always increase your salary by taking on a new position — and a new career-building challenge.

Whatever you do, make sure you do it graciously. “Don’t pout, burn bridges, or create social media posts blasting your employer,” says Logan. Instead, use this process as an opportunity to prove your worth to both yourself and your supervisor. This kind of work is likely to help your career, no matter what happens next.

“Even if the response you receive is not the result you wanted, you’ve gotten better at communicating effectively,” says Logan. “Don’t give up.”

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About Nicole Dieker

Nicole Dieker has been a full-time freelance writer since 2012, with a focus on personal finance and habit formation. In addition to Haven Life, her work regularly appears at Lifehacker, Bankrate, CreditCards.com, and Vox. Dieker spent five years as a writer and editor for The Billfold, a personal finance blog where people had honest conversations about money, and is the author of Frugal and the Beast: And Other Financial Fairy Tales.

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Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

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Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

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