Eight times you should ask for a raise
Can you check off any of these boxes? Schedule time to talk to your boss.
If you’re going to work up the courage to ask your boss for a pay bump, you want to have the odds stacked in your favor. That means lining up your accomplishments, preparing what you're going to say, and getting the timing right. That last bit is often overlooked, but you need to know when to ask for a raise just as much as you need to learn to know how.
Here are eight times when it makes sense to ask your boss for a raise.
Your employer posted strong quarterly earnings
You have much better odds of success when your company is doing well. When profits are up, managers often have more money at their disposal to reward their employees, especially their top performers.
In contrast, if your company has recently laid off employees to cut operating costs, it’s probably best to hold off on asking for a raise until things begin to improve.
You aced a performance review
Many companies tie pay bumps to performance reviews, which makes sense—employees who deliver quality work ought to be rewarded for their contributions. So if you have a positive performance review, now is a logical time to ask for a more money.
You made a significant achievement
One of the best ways to gauge when to ask for a raise? Look at your recent wins. Ask for a raise right after you crush a job goal. For example, if you’ve doubled your monthly sales target, bring that to your boss’ attention. Moreover, quantify your achievements whenever possible. (“The new tracking system I created has bolstered production by 25%.”)
You find out you’re being underpaid
It’s important to know what other workers in your position are earning, since you should always be getting paid what you’re worth. One way to research your market value is by using Monster's salary guide. In addition, you can talk to recruiters and check out the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook to get a good idea of what other workers with your credentials are making. Keep in mind, your geographical location can influence your salary potential.
You took on more job responsibilities
If you’ve established a track record of delivering great work, your boss may decide to assign you more responsibility. Taking on more work can be a good thing if you’re gunning for a raise, but you need to advocate yourself.
The caveat? If you’re feeling overworked—say, you’re constantly staying late, or juggling too many assignments—your boss may be taking advantage of you. If that’s the case, you need to have an honest conversation with your manager to explain why you’re feeling overwhelmed and develop a plan on how to take some of the load off your shoulders.
You received a job offer from another company
Having an offer letter on the table from another company can give you leverage. Why? Because it gives your boss a reason to ask her boss to sign off on your raise request. After all, when push comes to shove managers will do everything in their power to retain talent. That’s also partly because turnover is costly: According to the Society for Human Resource Management, replacement costs are around one-third of an employee’s annual salary.
You just hit the one-year mark
Your one-year mark is a notable milestone, particularly if you’re sitting down for your first annual review at your company. Assuming that you’ve delivered top-notch work over the past year, you’re in a prime position to ask for a salary hike. If you’ve developed strong relationships with your peers, having their buy-in can give you more bargaining power.
You received a promotion
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but some companies do try to promote employees without raising their salary. So, if you’ve just received a promotion, your paycheck should reflect your new position.
Know when to walk away
Just because you know how and when to ask for a raise doesn't mean you'll automatically get what you deserve. If your boss is deflecting or if the company doesn't look like it's in great financial shape, it's smart to put some feelers out there. Need a little help with your job search? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. Don’t get stuck at a job where you’re not being compensated fairly for all your hard work.