5 Terrible Ways to Ask for a Raise

Asking for RaiseAsking for a raise is one of the most important parts of successful career management. This fact alone leaves most people feeling pretty rattled when it comes to asking their manager for a raise.

Maybe you feel like you’ve recently done exceptionally well in your position or you’ve put in a year (or more) of solid work. Regardless of the situation, asking for a raise can put a person in a strange situation. While it may be frightening, it’s even worse when you approach it carelessly.

Here are five of the worst ways to go about asking for a raise:

1. Forget To Prepare

The easiest way to ruin your chances of receiving a raise is to go about it completely unprepared. Even if your confidence is high from recent on-the-job praise, it’s necessary to take some time to research before popping the big question to your boss.

There are many aspects you must take into account before even considering a raise. Reach out to contacts within your industry and ask them about their experiences with asking for a raise. Build a strong case for yourself by carefully considering your achievements with your company and compiling a timeline of contributions to leverage a raise.

2. Let Your Fear Overcome You

Raises are nothing short of nerve-wracking, but giving into the fear will ruin your chances altogether. Many individuals completely rule out asking for a pay raise because the thought of it overwhelms them. While negotiation is certainly a learned skill, don’t let fear alone stop you from pursuing a raise. Focus on your reasoning for the raise and remain calm and confident prior to and during your meeting. A strong amount of preparation should alleviate a majority of the anxiety you might be feeling about the situation.

3. Completely Disregard A Timeline

Timing is everything. Asking too early or too late could completely ruin your chances. While there is no set timeline for asking for a raise, keep in mind that a raise usually signifies a job well-done. Consider how long you’ve been with the company, as well as the weight of your accomplishments, when deciding upon a timeline for your raise request. Although every company is different, asking for a raise before you’ve been with the company for at least a year can certainly increase your risk of being turned down.

4. Don’t Schedule It

Nothing will ruin your chances of a receiving a raise quite like asking about it casually in passing. Respect your manager’s time by scheduling a meeting in advance. Plus, no one likes surprises. A scheduled meeting provides an air of professionalism, regardless of what you’re discussing. This will allow both you and your manager time to prepare.

5. Forget Your Backup Plan

There are two potential outcomes when asking for a raise, and it’s your job to consider both. Disregarding a backup plan could potentially create an awkward end to your conversation. So, in the event your request is denied, instead of scurrying out of your boss’s office in disarray, compile a few questions to better understand what you have to do in the future to receive a raise.

A raise is a significant part of your career path, but it certainly isn’t something that should frighten you away. Remember to come prepared to your scheduled meeting and always have a backup plan.

Have you had to ask for a raise? How did you go about it?


Guest Expert:

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

We are grateful to all of the industry career experts for the top advice and experience they share with our MBA professionals. MBA Highway wouldn't be where it is today without them and their contributions.

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