When to Ask for a Raise

Can you check off any of these boxes? Schedule time to talk to your boss.

When to Ask for a Raise

Learn when to ask for a raise.

When it comes to your professional development, you need to know when to ask for a raise just as much as you need to know how to ask for a raise. There are some moments in your career where a raise isn't simply justified, but it's also expected. Granted, nobody knows whether or not the stars will align and you'll get the pay bump you desire, but it's quite literally worth it to ask.

Asking for a raise is a sign that you know what you're worth, and that's the sign of a professional who takes their career seriously. No matter how much you love your job and no matter how much your job loves you back, if you're underpaid, you're undervalued.

Recognizing when to ask for a raise is a critical lesson to learn. Here are eight times when it makes sense to approach your boss.

When to Ask for a Raise

1. 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.

2. You Aced a Performance Review

A clear sign of when to ask for a raise is after a positive employee 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 more money.

3. 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's attention. Moreover, quantify your achievements whenever possible. (“The new tracking system I created has bolstered production by 25%.”)

4. 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 Tools. 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 and experience level can influence your salary potential.

5. 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 looking for a raise, but you need to advocate yourself. It's unlikely that someone is just going to hand you more money along with the increased job duties.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. You Received a Promotion

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but some companies do try to promote employees without raising their salaries. So be sure to ask your boss if your new and improved title comes with a new and improved paycheck.

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? A profile on Monster can get the ball rolling. We can connect you with recruiters and job opportunities that match your experience. Don't get stuck at a job where you're not being compensated fairly for all your hard work.