The “raise conversation” has to be one of the most dreaded talks in the workplace. For many of us, asking for more is challenging, even when we know we deserve it. It’s tough for all of us, but especially women, who ask for raises and receive raises less often than their male counterparts. Asking for a raise is rarely easy, but having the conversation is nonetheless important and essential to happiness and fulfillment in the workplace. Here's some groundwork to follow and complete for how to get a raise.

If you want a raise, you have to ask for it

You may think you’re due for a raise, but you’re unlikely to get it unless you’re direct. While subtle suggestions seem like the best route for a raise, this approach will often lead to resentment. Often, employees are frustrated when they don’t believe they’ve been fairly compensated, but they don’t even ask. Your manager isn’t a mind reader, and you can bet they’re unlikely to offer compensation unless you let it be known that you want a raise.

Setting yourself up for a raise

Before you have a conversation about getting a raise, consider how you can set yourself up for a yes. How can you create an argument that your manager would be foolish to refuse? A few simple considerations can guarantee a smoother conversation.

When was the last time you received a salary increase at your company? When was your last performance review? Raises often coincide with performance reviews, but you don’t have to wait until the end of the year to ask for more.

Beyond timing, make sure you prepare as much as you can for the conversation. Asking for a raise is rarely enough to justify it. Refresh your resume, adding skills you’ve acquired and projects you’ve worked on. Highlighting experience shows the value you’re adding to your company.

Finally, know your numbers. Make sure you have a figure in mind for your raise. How much of a salary bump are you looking for? Knowing this information ensures that you are controlling the conversation with your manager, not the other way around.

Being informed and empowered before you meeting will make the process smoother.

How to ask for a raise at work

Once you complete your preparation work, you’ll need to set up a meeting with your manager. Be conscientious of his or her time, and let your manager know what the meeting is about. Springing this on someone is challenging, as he or she will likely need to allow a raise.

Bring all your prep work, and a positive attitude, into the meeting. Treat the experience like a highlight reel. Remind your manager or boss of your best work, and what your goals are moving forward.

There’s a chance your raise will be turned down, but don’t let that be the end of the conversation. If your offer is rejected, ask your boss what you can improve on to ensure a raise, and what the timeline would be to check in on your progress. Take note of when your manager feels comfortable having this conversation again. Use this as a goal, and don’t back down from bringing up the topic again. Remember: the worst thing you can do is never asking for a raise. If you don’t ask for something, it’s hard to get it.

At the end of the day, if you feel you need a raise, then you likely do. Unfortunately, companies don’t often hand out raises just because. It can be intimidating, but you likely need to ask for a raise before you’ll receive one. Understand that while the process can be stressful, it’s a valuable experience that will ensure a roadmap to success in your position.

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