April 5, 2018

How — and When — to Ask for More Money


If you’ve read my column before, you probably know that I’m generally an advocate of changing companies every 3-5 years. On top of giving you extra experience, switching employers has the potential to bump your pay up considerably.

Sometimes, however, you’ll need to get a raise by sticking with your current employer.

If you want the best chance of landing a raise of more than 2-3 percent, you’ll want to ask for it when your role has undergone a significant evolution. For example, if your work has expanded into a new area or your authority has increased, that would be a great time to ask for a raise. Were you hired as an individual contributor, but now you oversee a team of seven? The scope of your job has changed, and a raise may be in order.

It is easier to ask for more money if your job has changed significantly because, that way, you won’t be asking for more money for a job you already do. You may be smarter than your peers, or saving more money, or getting more done, but if your job responsibilities are essentially the same as they’ve always been, your manager will have a hard time justifying a raise.

If your job has changed, then asking for a raise is akin to negotiating a proper salary for a new job. You can drive the point home even further by asking for a new title and updated job description alongside your raise. That way, you are officially taking your current position to the next level.

Once you’re ready to make a case for a raise, you’ll want to find the perfect time to ask. What the perfect time is will depend on a number of factors. Perhaps your annual performance evaluation presents a great opportunity, or maybe you’d rather wait for another time, when your manager won’t be busy with other reviews or restricted by the guidelines for annual raises.

Never go into the conversation unprepared. You have to plan ahead. Request a meeting in advance so your boss won’t be caught off guard. Prepare your case in such a way that your manager can easily advocate for you. Don’t make it hard for your boss to give you more money. Do as much of the work for them as you can.

Consider preparing a presentation that shows how your job has changed. Highlight your accomplishments. Include relevant quantitative results, such as the amount by which you’ve exceeded your goals or the amount of revenue you’ve saved the company. You put similar effort into everything else you do at work — why wouldn’t you do the same when your salary is on the line?

No matter what you do, your boss may say no. The decision may be outside of their control. Be careful not to do or say anything that may jeopardize your job, no matter what the outcome.

And if your company doesn’t sufficiently value you, it may be time to look for an employer that will.

A version of this article originally appeared on Copeland Coaching.

Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching.

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Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching (www.CopelandCoaching.com). She is host of the Copeland Coaching Podcast, and author of the career eBook "Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job". Follow Angela on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/copelandcoaching), Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/copelandcoach), and Instagram (http://www.instagram.com/copelandcoaching).