New Year's Resolution: Ask For That Raise

   By drodriguez  Sep 14, 2008

After new years roles around many people are faced with the results of their year-end evaluations and the issue of a possible pay rise often comes to mind. But how does one go about broaching this delicate matter with a boss?

A recent report written by Eileen Zimmerman in the Job Market section of the New York Times offers answers for people who may find this task embarrassing or difficult to muster. Before even mentioning the idea of a raise to a boss it’s important to know how much you are worth in your particular field. Lucky for us, it doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Websites like and offer customized salary reports for many fields across the country.

After you have figured out exactly how much you want to and should be making, Zimmerman advises that you sit down and write a specific list of recent accomplishments since your last employee evaluation to present to your boss.

And last but not least, prepare yourself psychologically before entering into negotiations with your boss. President of a leadership-consulting firm in Los Angeles says, “You’ve got to go into these discussions with a clear sense that this is something you have earned, not a gift from your boss.”

Zimmerman’s article goes on to answer many questions about the actual raise discussion process such as the often uncomfortable subject of specific amounts and percentages. Negotiations consultant Michael Soon Lee advises people to simply leave the first move to the boss. Mr. Lee explains by saying, “They can only go up from there. If your boss intended to give you an 8 percent raise and you suggest 6 percent, you can’t change your mind and say, ?No, I meant 8 percent.”

For many more answers to questions like these, you can read the article in its entirety at

What do you think of the tips for asking for a pay raise listed above?

Do you have any personal tips that have worked for you in the past when negotiating a raise?

Make a Comment

amykinzer by amykinzer | Wilmington, DE
Nov 17, 2008

The worst that can happen...they say no. And you're no worse off for it, so just ask!

zionita by zionita | NAPLES, FL
Sep 19, 2008

Seeing this discussion and looking at the bills on my desk, inspires me more to ask for a raise. My hours and have been cut and my pay has not been adjusted for a while. So, next week is going to be my week to ask for a raise.

cvarano by cvarano | BROOKLYN, NY
Feb 05, 2008

I definitely have had a hard time with this in the past. I'm very bad at negotiating and even worse at the initial confrontation. I found these tips very helpful. I should realize that this is something I have earned rather than a gift. That puts things in perspective for me.

Lynsda828 by Lynsda828 | Delaware, OH
Jan 31, 2008

Be prepared!!! Make sure that you are organized and if you had any objectives to meet - have the documentation ready to go when you approach your boss.

sharman421 by sharman421 | TALLAHASSEE, FL
Jan 27, 2008

Good article! Too bad there are so many jobs out there with standard salary scales and no room for individual raises. And even though unions may supposedly negotiate for you, over-time never comes into the picture with a salaried employee. and most salaried employees work too many hours!

OtterKim by OtterKim | ST PETERSBURG, FL
Jan 10, 2008

This information is helpful. I'm due for my annual review this month. Our health insurance was increased 19% as of January 1st, so that completely obliterated a special raise I received in November! It's very frustrating to perform well, but continually tread economic water - or worse yet, back-paddle!

Normamay by Normamay | Miramar, FL
Jan 10, 2008

I am good friends with my boss's assistant, it helps to have someone on the inside who knows the ins and outs. She always tells me when its a good time to ask my boss for favors or conduct important discussions with her about the company. She can also let me know when it's a good time to steer clear of the boss's office, which is a big help - haha!