how to ask for a raise

How To Ask For A Raise

Aug. 1 2017, Published 6:35 p.m. ET

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Carla Harris knows a thing or two about money. As Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley, she’s navigated Wall Street for years, working her way to the top and learning plenty along the way. Here, she offers some advice on what can seem like one of the most difficult conversations you’ll ever have with your boss: asking for a raise.

If you want to ask your boss for a raise, you must be able to answer the following questions:

  • What have you done to deserve a raise?
  • How long has it been since you have had a raise?
  • Why is it in the company’s best interest to give you a raise?
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You must also be armed with other information, like what is the market rate for someone in your role, and with your level of experience and tenure.

If you are going to ask for a raise, you must have a cogent script around why you think that you deserve the raise, have a list of your accomplishments that have exceeded expectations and have a good argument as to why your current salary does not adequately reflect your level of contribution. It is also a good idea to hint why it is good for the organization for you to have this raise. The script goes something like this:

“Jim, I have had an amazing year at the company this year. When we set my goals for this year, we agreed that they were stretch goals that far exceeded last year’s performance and what might be probable this year, given the economic environment. As I think that you are aware, I not only met those stretch goals, I far exceeded expectations given the market environment. In particular, the three most important accomplishments included ______________, _______________, and ______________. I would very much like to be recognized for this contribution to our results and I would appreciate an increase in my salary. I understand that the range of compensation in the marketplace for my role is between $______ and $______ and I would very much like to move towards the higher end of that range. It would be terrific motivation to continue to try to be one of the best among our competitors.”

You should be prepared for the fact that your boss probably will not give you an answer on the spot

He or she may ask, “when was the last time that you had a raise?” Or they might want to temper your expectations around an answer. Be prepared to have a little discussion around the request. Make sure that you stay constructive and productive in your demeanor. At the end of the conversation you should say, “ I understand that you have to review this request, and I appreciate your taking the time to discuss this with me as it is very important to me. I look forward to discussing this further with you and thanks again for your consideration. I would like to check in with you again in a couple of weeks on this topic.”

It is important that you leave with a message that you want to close the loop on this request, so that the “ask” does not fade into the atmosphere. In a couple of weeks, make sure to follow up with an e-mail or another request for a quick meeting.


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