The Do’s and Don’ts of Asking for a Raise at Work

Studies show, despite the stress typically associated with asking for more money at work, 78% of people who ask will receive a raise. Meanwhile, only 2% of people who didn't ask for a raise, got one anyways.

Asking for a pay increase is a nerve-wracking experience for many people.

What if they say no? Will it make you look bad because you want more money?

When asking for a raise the odds are in your favor, and the average annual raise rate in the United States is 7.6%.

The key to getting the “yes” is to ensure you make a strong case for yourself without appearing greedy or entitled. Following a few key dos and don'ts can increase your chances of success.

Do: Research Your Worth

Before asking for a pay increase, it's crucial to do your research to make sure you truly are underpaid and to give you an idea of what your salary should be.

Look up the average salaries for your job title in your geographic location, and consider factors like your experience, education, and skillset. This will help you determine the fair salary range for your position and responsibilities.

Before scheduling a meeting with your manager, decide on your desired salary.

Don't: Base Your Request on Personal Needs

Remember, you don’t want a raise just because your expenses increased.

While it's understandable that you may need a pay increase to cover your bills or other personal expenses, it's not a compelling argument to make to your employer. Instead, focus your argument on your accomplishments in your career and value to the company and how a pay increase would reflect your effort and job responsibilities.

Do: Build an Ironclad Case

You must make a strong case for yourself when requesting a pay increase. The best arguments are based on facts and evidence, not emotions and personal desires.

This means highlighting your accomplishments, contributions, and any additional responsibilities you've taken on. List specific examples of how you've helped the company grow or save money, and come prepared to discuss them in detail. Take a few days (or weeks) to make this list because job responsibilities will occur to you at different times during your workday.

Don't: Make Threats or Ultimatums

It's never a good idea to make threats or ultimatums when asking for a pay increase. In fact, that’s a great way to NOT get the raise and be put on a “do not promote” list.

This can damage your relationship with your employer and potentially lead to termination. Instead, make a positive case for why you deserve a raise. Emphasize your accomplishments and keep the conversation as lighthearted as you can.

Do: Choose The Right Time and Place

As with everything else in life, timing is key when it comes to requesting a pay increase.

Schedule a meeting with your employer when they're not too busy or stressed, and avoid approaching them during a particularly busy or stressful time for the company. For example, asking for a raise when your company is going through layoffs is probably not a good idea.

In addition, pay attention to your employer’s regular performance review cycles. If you’re right around the corner from performance review time, it’s probably a good idea to schedule a meeting with your boss. Out-of-cycle raises also work, but they can be tougher.

Don't: Compare Yourself to Coworkers

While it can be tempting to compare your salary to your coworkers, it's not a productive argument. For instance, just because a coworker makes more than you doesn’t necessarily mean you are underpaid. They might have more job responsibilities than you realize.

Your salary should be based on your individual worth to the company, not your coworkers' earnings.

Do: Practice Your Pitch

Before meeting with your employer, practice your pitch with a trusted friend.

Rehearse what you'll say, and ask your friend to anticipate any questions or objections your employer may have. This will help you feel more confident and prepared when you request. Practice your pitch, but don’t memorize it.

Remember, this should be a conversation rather than a presentation.

Don't: Give Up Too Easily

If your employer initially says no to your request for a pay increase, that’s okay. Hope may not be lost. It might not be the right time for your employer to adjust compensation.

Ask for specific feedback on why your request was denied, and see if there are any areas where you can improve. Additionally, consider negotiating other perks or benefits that may be important to you, such as more vacation time or flexible working hours.

In summary, asking for a pay increase can be a daunting experience, but following these dos and don'ts can increase your chances of success. By building a strong case, practicing your pitch, and choosing the right time and place, you can demonstrate your value to your employer and hopefully secure the salary increase you deserve.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Steve Adcock is an early retiree who writes about mental toughness, financial independence and how to get the most out of your life and career. As a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch and CNBC, Adcock maintains a rare and exclusive voice as a career expert, consistently offering actionable counseling to thousands of readers who want to level-up their lives, careers, and freedom. Adcock's main areas of coverage include money, personal finance, lifestyle, and digital nomad advice. Steve lives in a 100% off-grid solar home in the middle of the Arizona desert and writes on his own website at