Thank you to Arjun Vijayanarayanan for contributing to this article!

Are working above and beyond your job role and think you deserve a pay raise? If you are in a position to ask for a raise, here are some steps on how to do it.

Planning and Preparation

Share career goals with your manager. Show progress 

It is essential to have honest and frequent conversations about your career goals with your manager. Convey your desire to excel in your current role, take on more projects and responsibilities, and eventually advance within the company. Implement their suggestions, report your progress and demonstrate how your contribution has added value to the company.

This ensures the manager is aware of your performance and more importantly suggests to them that you are invested in the company.


Know what your experience and skills are worth. Sometimes you can get this on sites like Glassdoor, saying what people are paid at your company and similar companies. Other times, you can get information by networking with fellow professionals in similar industries. Analyze the market and the local labor laws to see where you stand currently, and how much of a raise you can possibly get. Based on the outcome of the above research, come up with an increased salary target.

Refer to the employee handbook, if available, to understand the company pay practices and process involved. Adhering to these policies gives a higher probability of a successful pay raise. For example, if the company strictly adheres to once a year pay raise, you may not be successful in requesting a pay raise during any other time.

It is important to time your pay raise request. For example, if your company is going through layoffs, hiring freezes, successive quarterly losses, etc., it is probably not a good time to request a raise.

Make your case from your manager’s point of view 

Prepare a presentation describing the goals you accomplished. List all additional responsibilities that you have undertaken; special projects and/or if you have managed a team. Provide metrics to back this up – cost savings, improvement in productivity, customer feedback, etc. All your arguments should be backed up with your job performance and how much you’ve helped the company, not personal needs like rent increase or financial hardships.

Rehearse your presentation and salary negotiation pitches repeatedly before your final talk with your manager. Role-playing with friends and family helps with this. The goal is to sound confident and to ease your nerves.

 Meet with your manager

After you are done with your planning and preparation, let your manager know about your intent for a pay raise. You can either write an email or request for a one-on-one meeting. It is important that you give the manager some time to review your request, go through company policies and to get with the HR department and their supervisor to discuss, before meeting with you.

Dress well, have a smile, act cordial and be confident. Just like you practiced. Since you have already kept your manager in the loop about your projects and progress, it makes it easy to bring home that you have earned this raise. You aren’t trying to surprise them or talk them into changing their mind. You’re reminding them of something they knew was coming eventually, and suggesting that now is a good time.

Be prepared to hear “NO” 

Even after all the effort, you may hear a no from your manager. Don’t feel dejected. You can discuss further on how to achieve a pay raise and request for an interim performance appraisal to keep showing your merits to your manager.

More importantly, do not threaten your manager with another company’s offer or to leave the company because of a pay raise request rejection. This almost always works against the employee. It is important to learn to accept rejection and respond accordingly.

If a pay raise is rejected, one can always request for additional vacation time or professional development opportunities. Even if these are rejected, you would have at least learnt to advocate, understand and appreciate your worth. Take rejection as a learning experience and be prepared the next time.

Asking for a pay raise may be a scary thing, but remember, if you don’t ask – you don’t get it.



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