Many people are fearful of asking for a raise. You might be afraid that you’ll hurt your standing in the company because your boss will see you as self-centered, or you might simply have general anxiety because you’ve never done it before. Although asking for a raise is something that many conscientious employees struggle to do, you shouldn’t feel abashed about it, and reasonable employers understand that their employees want to be paid fair market value for the work that they provide the company. Still, the fact remains that you might be one of the many people in the workforce who get butterflies in their stomach over the thought of setting up a meeting time to ask your boss for a raise. There are, however, some strategies that you can incorporate into your conversation that will make you feel more comfortable with the conversation and increase the likelihood that your boss will be open to the idea.

How to Prepare to Ask for a Raise

It’s essential to prepare yourself so that you can show your boss why you deserve a raise. Even if you have a positive relationship with your boss, more than likely, they’ll still want to know why you feel that you deserve a raise. There are a few things that you should seek out when preparing for the conversation.

List Your Accomplishments

You’ll need to be able to give evidence to how you’ve gone above and beyond to provide value to the company and how you’ve grown since the last time you received a raise. If you’ve been working at a company for a few years, you’ve likely learned skills that you didn’t have at the time of your hire, and you’ve hopefully stepped up to the plate on some projects and provided value in tangible ways. Put together a list of the things that you’ve accomplished and how these accomplishments have benefitted the company and team that you’re working in. This is a valuable process for a few reasons. First of all, if your boss asks you why you think that you deserve a raise, you’ll have your response ready. But when you make your list of accomplishments, you’re also more likely to feel confident about why you deserve one. Finally, if you can’t come up with any accomplishments, this also tells you that you might need to wait a year and work hard to make yourself stand out in positive ways.

Find Out How Much You’re Worth

You’ll also need to know how much money you deserve. The amount that your job should pay depends on your position, the job market in your area, and the amount of experience that you have. You can definitely find out how much you’re worth according to your job title, years of experience, and the area that you live in. You can look on many of the job sites, such as Glassdoor, to find out how much people are reporting to get an idea on the range for your area.

When to Ask for a Raise

Depending on the industry, there might be better times of the year to ask for a raise. You also need to consider if you’ve recently gone above and beyond what you normally do. There are also a few times that you should avoid, such as when your boss is likely to be particularly stressed.

Best Times of the Year to Ask for a Raise

One of the best times to ask for a raise is when the company is planning its next fiscal year budget. This lets them consider how your salary will figure into their overall budget, and it also makes it less likely that they’ll put it off because the budget for that year is already set.

Another time that you can consider asking for a raise is when you have your yearly performance appraisal. If you’re hearing a lot of positive feedback, this gives further credence to your case.

Show Credibility by Asking After a Big Accomplishment

If you just completed a large project in which you were instrumental to its success, this further lends credence to your worth.

When Your Boss is in a Good Mood

In many industries, there are certain times of the year that they’re more likely to be stressed out, and there are certain times of the year that they might be more open to your case. You want to avoid the stressful times of year in your industry. You also want to think of times during the week when your boss will be happy. For instance, you should probably avoid Mondays, but Friday in about the middle of the morning could be the best time.

What to Say to Get a Raise

While you’re interested in having a conversation about money, you might still have fears about coming across as greedy. There are a few strategies that you can incorporate to ensure that you don’t come across as fearful or greedy. First of all, you need to remain poised and confident, but you can rehearse a few scripts even though you’ll likely deviate from them.

Be Straightforward and Specific

Asking for a raise isn’t the time to be vague. Instead, you want to be direct so that there isn’t confusion. More than likely, if you’re not confident and ask for exactly what you want, you might make your boss wonder what you’re actually asking for. Have a specific number in mind. For instance, you can say something along the lines of, “I’ve been doing some research, and because of my previous experience and the special projects that I’ve been instrumental in making into successes, I’m interested in getting a raise of $7,000 per year.”

Express Your Excitement for Your Job

If you’re concerned about coming off as greedy, expressing your loyalty to the company is one way to ensure that you’re showing your boss that you think about the needs of the business. You can say something along the lines of, “I really love how many opportunities this job has given me to grow professionally, and I’m excited to continue to give my talents to the company.” This is always better than making comparative statements about other people’s pay that’s based on rumor, whining, or other statements that make you seem entitled.

How to Justify a Raise

More than likely, your manager will have questions that they’ll want you to answer, so you should be ready for them. First of all, you need to have a compelling case, and you need to present it in a compelling manner. You can list any accolades or awards that you’ve received. If you have any hard data on how you’ve contributed to your company’s bottom line or the overall image that the company presents to its customers and clients, this is a good time to bring those up, too.

Important Questions to Ask

When you’re preparing to have the talk, you should also come up with a few questions to ask your manager. For instance, you can ask if there would be additional responsibilities that you could take on that would go with the raise. Also, there’s always a chance that your boss won’t give you your request, so you need to be prepared for that. Sometimes, companies just don’t have the budget. If this is the case, you can ask if there are certain perks, such as more paid time off or the ability to work from home a day or two per week, that they could give you.

Before you ask for a raise, you should also take the time to ask yourself if you actually deserve it. While most managers in companies that value their employees see raise conversations as important talking points, they’re less likely to value your request if you’re always doing the bare minimum, and there are work ethic traits that managers are more likely to value.

If you’ve been worrying about asking your boss for a raise, you’re not alone. There are plenty of people who are concerned about it, but if you’ve cared for your reputation and your boss is reasonable, the worst thing they can do is not give it to you. Be reasonable about your request, and you might find that you have more negotiating power than what you thought.