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December 20, 2018 | Career Path

Asking for a Raise? Tips to Negotiate with Confidence

Wouldn’t it be great if your boss noticed all your amazing accomplishments and just automatically gave you a raise? Unfortunately, that’s not the world most of us live in—which means that when it comes to getting a raise, you’ll need to be your own advocate.

To help you make your case, we’ve pulled together our top tips on when to ask, what to ask for and how to get a ‘yes.’ In the spirit of optimism, we even threw in a few ideas for how to prioritize your extra cash when you get that well-deserved salary increase.


1. Pick the right time

When you ask for a raise can be just as important as how you ask for one. First, find out when your company’s budget planning takes place. This will increase the odds that they’ll be able to give you an answer and reduce the risk of asking during a stressful time for the organization.

There a few other natural times to start the conversation: during an annual performance review, or after you’ve successfully completed an important project (Nothing like striking while the iron is hot, right?).


2. Know your worth

Knowledge is power, so before you sit down to negotiate, make sure you know the market value of your role. Ask peers in your industry and do a little online research to find out what the going rate is for your position.

Sites like PayScale, Glassdoor and can help give you a clear idea of the raise you should be asking for by giving you an objective figure to compare your current salary against. That way, you have the facts to back up your request.

By the way, don’t hesitate to name a concrete number: According the Columbia Business School, it’s best to give a precise number instead of a range because it makes you seem more informed.


3. Build your case

There’s a good chance that your employer will ask you why you deserve a raise—so make sure you’ve got a strong answer ready. Point out recent projects and periods of time where you went above and beyond for the company. Be prepared to show a few examples of how your work positively impacted the company as well. Was there an increase in revenue? Did you gain a new customer? Those wins make you a valuable asset, and your salary should reflect that.


4. Ditch the ultimatums (unless you really are ready to walk)

Nobody likes getting ultimatums, and your boss is no exception. Be assertive in asking for what you think you deserve, but steer clear of statements like “give me a raise or I quit.” Unless you’re really ready to follow through on an ultimatum, this is a move that could easily backfire. And the last thing you want to do is get called on your bluff.


5. Offer alternatives to ‘no’

Prepare alternatives in case your first request is denied. Even if the company can’t grant your request for a raise right now, they might be willing to discuss other ways of rewarding your efforts, like increased benefits, a title change or more vacation time. While they might not mean a higher paycheck, those perks have value too.


You got a raise! Now what?

First of all, congratulations! Now let’s make the most of those extra funds.

-Start by figuring how your boost in salary will affect your take-home pay, then adjust your budget accordingly. If you’re working to eliminate debt, this is a great time to accelerate your efforts.

-If you don’t have an emergency fund yet, now’s the time to create one. Most experts agree that your emergency fund should cover three to six months of living expenses in a savings account where you can easily access it should the need arise.

-Using your windfall to contribute to your retirement is also a smart idea. Even a small increase in your contribution can have a dramatic impact on your financial future over the long haul. Consider setting up automatic transfers to a retirement account each month—that way, you won’t be tempted to spend it before you can stash it away.

-Last but not least, do a little something for yourself. Maybe it’s a new pair of shoes, a weekend getaway or front-row seats at an epic concert. You worked hard to earn your raise, so treat yo’ self (within reason, of course).


You didn’t get a raise! Now what?

Pat yourself on the back anyway. You asked! Advocating for yourself at work isn’t always easy, but it’s a critical part of your career development no matter what.

While you may feel understandably disappointed, it’s important to keep the conversation amicable. A ‘no’ now isn’t necessarily a ‘no’ forever, so don’t get discouraged. Instead, accept the answer with grace, then ask what else you can do to enhance your worth. Chances are, you’ll get a ‘yes’ the next time around. 

Whether or not you achieve a higher income in 2019, start a savings plan now to get closer to your financial goals. All of our checking accounts come with at least one complimentary savings account to help you fund your dreams. Contact us or visit an Umpqua store near you to learn more.

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