How to Ask For a Raise

Everyone needs to know how to ask for a raise. Unless you are in a field that has set salaries base on years of employment like a school teacher, workers in every industry and at every level need to know how and when to ask for a raise.

After the crazy year, we have had due to the pandemic most people are grateful they have a job and don’t want to rock the boat by asking for a raise. But as our economy is turning around you are thinking perhaps it is time to ask for a raise. What is the best way to ask for a raise?

Keep in mind that money isn’t everything. It doesn’t guarantee happiness. But being fairly compensated and rewarded financially you will feel valued by the company you work for.

Here are some tips for asking for a raise.


Timing is everything. You have heard this and it applies to raises as well. Consider the timing and situation your company is in before asking for a raise.

For some companies, the past year has been a huge struggle but for other companies, it has been a stellar year. It all depends on the industry. If your company is the former instead of the latter you need to acknowledge that in your request. For example, ask like this, “I know the past year has been crazy and not business-as-usual but my performance during this time has been excellent based on {fill in the blank}. Can I expect a raise in the coming year?

Now if your company is barely hanging on or it has laid off workers it may not be the best time to ask.

Know the Facts

Go in prepared. This means do your homework. If you are employed by a large company the salary ranges for your level may be posted by HR. If not, then jump online and do some industry research.  There are many salary databases out there such as the one on You can search by title and location. Have a figure in mind so if you are asked you have a number.

Know Your Worth

We are our own worse critics. Most of us from time to time suffer from “imposter syndrome”. That is, we think any minute someone is going to call us out as a fraud. Start by listing all your accomplishments in the past year. Perhaps you are now doing the job of two people. Or you have increased productivity by 20%. Compile a list of points you can use to justify the raise you are asking for.

Have a Plan

If you are turned down due to finances ask for possibilities of other compensation. More paid time off, the ability to work from home x number of days a week (especially if you have a long commute), or a year-end bonus.

Know the next steps to take

Whether the answer is yes or no you need to know the next steps to take. If the answer is yes get the raise agreement in writing and if the company has an HR department loop them into the conversation. You need to know when the raise will take effect.

If the answer is no or perhaps later, then ask when is a good time to revisit this conversation. Mark that date on your calendar and follow up.

Know when to look Elsewhere.

Unlike our fathers and grandfathers who may have worked for the same company all their lives, it may be the time to move on. Start doing some research on other companies in your area or if you are looking for a huge change perhaps in another state. If you have a family to think of this is a huge decision to make. Get your resume ready and start looking.