How to get the pay raise you deserve:Time it right

Initiate the raise conversation prior to your review cycle to set expectations, preferably at the end of a big win, completion of a major project, etc.  Many companies have a set budget for increases so to level-set prior to the distribution of raises is important.

Schedule the appointment with your boss at the end of the day – do not give the title or context of the meeting in advance, simply schedule a “check-in” meeting.Wardrobe

Power-up- Dress the part that day, feel that confidence and before you go in, repeat, “I am worth it” multiple times to yourself.Script

Relax your boss at the start of the meeting.  “Thanks for seeing me this afternoon“….pay a compliment on something that is going well and then say, “I have come to you to ask for your guidance and support.”

Make your boss part of the solution. “I know you have insight into the firm’s compensation strategies” and want to discuss with you consideration for an additional increase in my salary.” Emphasize that you are happy working for the firm and in your role and then move into your direct contributions, “And I am most proud of the accomplishments we have had over the past year….”

Take the time to keep score.  Have your accomplishments spelled out in writing with numerical value….brought in XX number of new clients, project A that I led, saved the company XX number of dollars, membership has increased by XX%, employee engagement scores have increased by XX%….Recite your wins.  Make sure these are items that are above and beyond what is in your job description and leave a copy with your boss.  This allows him/her to show it to others to justify the market adjustment.

Know what you are worth in the marketplace.  Resources like Glassdoor, PayScale,,, are all on-line resources.  Recruiters can also be a good source.  Set the expectations:  “I know my position in the marketplace is paying on average, XX percent more, I would like to see consideration for that salary level.”  Take into consideration the additional total rewards, of benefits, etc. and set a realistic expectation.  On average, raises are 3%.  However, if you are 10% below market pay, ask for the whole 10% – you may only get 7% but it is significantly more that what you would have received if you did not ask.

Thank your boss for the time, and his/her support.  Send a quick email the next morning emphasizing your commitment to the firm and appreciation for the consideration.  Do not bring it up again for the next several weeks unless initiated by your boss.

Follow up two weeks later to check status if you have not heard sooner. Avoid these mistakes:

Do not have the salary discussion in a public setting.

Do not pressure for an answer on the spot – your boss may have to confer with HR, CFO, or other decision maker.Never threaten to quit or look for another job.

Do not get defensive, emotional or raise your voice.  This is not personal, this is business.

Do not tell your boss “I know what the people in this department are making.”

Do not describe your personal finances (behind on student loans, car broke down) – this about your value in the role and contributions to the firm.

Do not say, “I am sorry I am asking you for this….but” or “I feel I deserve this”

Do not whine or complain about your hours worked, doing the job of others or lack of recognition.

No profanity, hand gestures or sulking….if you want to stay employed.