How To Ask For A Raise In 3 Steps

Do you want a raise?

Chances are that if you’re reading this article, you want a raise AND the best method of asking for one! Luckily for you, I can teach you the most effective way to ask for a raise in only three steps.  [Edit 2/19/2008:  Click here if you’re looking for a Sample Letter]

Step 1 – Assess Where You Are And What You Want

The first step necessary before negotiating a raise is to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. As an employee, do I stand out, or blend in?
  2. Do I really care about the employer I work for and the job I do, or is it just a paycheck?
  3. Do I make my own effort to learn new job skills so I can add greater value to myself for my employer, or do I just coast along day to day?
  4. Career-wise, where do I want to be 5 to 10 years from now?
  5. Do I have a good relationship with my supervisor, or do I actively avoid talking to management?

The purpose of asking these questions is to assess whether or not you actually deserve a raise. The last thing you want to do is storm into your boss’ office making demands with no data prepared to support your case — such an act would certainly hinder your chances of getting the raise you desire!

It’s also important to determine whether or not your employer would be in a position to grant you a raise, and to understand specifically what you’re asking for. To clarify: Most employers provide mandatory cost-of-living raises each year to all existing employees. These are different from “merit raises,” which are granted to employees individually based on job performance.

Needless to say, in order to be considered for a merit raise, you must have already put in an effort to earn it. After considering above questions, if you believe you’re truly deserving of additional compensation for your contributions on the job, read on to learn how to tactfully ask for a raise.

Step 2 – Gather Data To Build Your Case

Congratulations, you’re confident that you deserve a raise! Confidence in this matter will be your most useful asset when the time comes to ask for your raise. Right now though, your focus is to build a case that will convince your supervisor that you deserve it. The best method for doing this is to create a summary of the work you perform, separating the tasks that are expected of you and the initiatives you performed on your own volition.

It is also worthwhile to do some research within the organization you’re working for. If there is a designated Human Resources department, ask someone there if they have any suggestions they can offer — chances are they know what strategies work best for approaching your supervisor on the subject of a merit raise. In the event there is no HR department, select someone who you can confide in to talk to. It’s best to choose someone who has received an announced raise or promotion in the time you have been working there.

Most importantly, it is necessary to research what the open job market is paying for your position. Sites such as and are excellent sources for finding this type of information relative to where you live. Make certain that your current salary is not more than the average salary listed on these sites — you would have a hard time arguing that you are being underpaid if your boss can counter your case by looking up those values.

Rehearse your reasons so you can present your case confidently and make your raise a reality.

Step 3 – Talk With Your Boss

Armed with your reasons and research, schedule a time to talk with your supervisor. Consider putting your proposal in writing if they’re regularly very busy — but do not just leave it for them to find in their in box! A request of this magnitude requires hand-delivery.

When I approached my supervisor with a merit raise proposal, I asked her for ten minutes of her time to meet in private. During our meeting I explained that I wrote her a letter asking for a raise, but didn’t want to occupy too much of her time. I handed her the letter and then welcomed her to discuss the matter with me after she had gotten a chance to review it.

Remember, confidence and attitude are what count most. Don’t give the impression as if you’re giving an ultimatum — simply express your needs in an calm, educated manner. If your supervisor knows you’re deserving of a raise, and you demonstrate you have put effort into making your case before asking, you will be taken seriously. Good luck!

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7 Responses to “How To Ask For A Raise In 3 Steps”

#1 Hunter Nuttall on 20, Feb, 2008 at 10:04 am

I especially like step 1. It’s not enough to just want a raise (everyone does), but you have to do enough reflection to be able to demonstrate your present and future value to the company.

#2 Roger Johnson on 29, Feb, 2008 at 5:08 am

Did this work for you?

#3 Shaun Boyd on 29, Feb, 2008 at 5:30 pm

@Roger Johnson
Honestly, no — but as I described in my follow-up article, my supervisor would have honored my request for a raise if it was up to her. In my particular situation, the budget committee refused the merit raise.

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#5 Vina Marie G. Ong on 24, Nov, 2008 at 4:43 am

i,m a self supporting student of a good university. since i dont have a guardians, i have to support my self all along. i dont have any penny to support my thesis..yes i’m a graduating student. when i was young all i wanted is to finish a degree.. now im finally there. im willing to do anything just to be finish my chosen degree.. please help me for my finacial needs. i’ll be owning this for you my whole life. i’ll acknowlege those people willing to help me.
thank you and more power.

#6 chrispy on 26, May, 2009 at 11:06 am


Out of curiousity, what university did you attend? Your grammar skills are severly under par, and this makes me extremely nervous. Do we really have universitys giving out degrees to people who can’t speak basic english. Please do not take this as an insult or an attack, I am just speaking my mind on the matter.


#7 Amanda on 25, Oct, 2009 at 3:10 pm


I think you meant “severely” and “universities.” Do you have a degree? Let’s hope not; because that would make your argument hypocrisy at best. I found over 5 grammatical errors in your statement. Have a nice day.

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