How To Ask For A Pay Raise

On this series of blog posts, I will tell you how to ask for a pay raise the right way.

But first, let me share with you why I deserve a raise and how to express these justifications to my boss.

At the start of every year, I make a financial plan. It outlines savings targets, assigns holiday budgets and places a small column for extravagant purchases I intend to make. For this year, that purchase is a holiday to the south of Italy. (Limoncellos on the beach!!)

Fact is, I was struggling to make the budgets balance without compromising my goals.

I was playing with my finance spreadsheet, trying to make money “appear” by tweaking certain excel cells. (that’s what investment bankers do, right? :P)

Then it dawned upon me…

Instead of compromising, why don’t I just earn more money?

That sounds like an AMAZING idea. Time to speak to my boss about a pay rise!

I craft resumes for a living. I help people strategise on how to show compelling value propositions to hiring managers in order to get job offers. Naturally, I had to present a similar value proposition to my boss to justify my own pay rise. (when you have a logical argument, the negotiation always becomes SO much easier)

So I made a list of reasons why I need deserve that pay rise.

Reason #1: I’ve got 1 year more of experience. Therefore I’m more efficient. Therefore I should be paid more.

Quite frankly, that reason sucks. Yes I’m more efficient but does that mean I’m delivering more value to my company? My pay is a reflection of the contribution I make to the firm. Being more efficient just means I can finish my work earlier and get back to watching Game of Thrones at home.

I’m not actually contributing MORE to my company. How then can I justify a pay rise?

Nope. I need a better reason.

Reason #2: The company is doing well. It’s a reflection of my hard work over many years. I deserve a reward, especially since we can afford it.

This reason screams entitlement mentality!

While we are doing well, it’s difficult to justify who deserves the credit. In fact, I’d say the marketing team deserves most of it. Our Facebook ads last year got us plenty of customers.

Furthermore, just because the company can afford it, doesn’t mean that it’s fair that I get a pay rise. Everyone deserves to be rewarded for their hard work. (especially the marketing team)

This reason won’t work either.

Reason #3: I’d like a pay rise because I’m going to be contributing more this year.

I really like this reason. I’ll contribute more (because I’m more efficient so I can get more done in the workday), and add more value to the company and therefore justify the pay rise.

That sounds REALLY good. But can I really win a pay rise on a promise to contribute more? It doesn’t feel very gentlemanly to my boss.

I need to do better.

Reason #3: I’d like to step up and contribute X to the company. If task X is successful and brings the firm more business, I would like to discuss a pay rise.

YES!!! This is a bulletproof reason.

It’s great because

1. I’ll be contributing more value to the company (by working on task X)

2. My pay rise can be justified by measuring how successful task X was (assuming we have the discussion some months from now, after I’ve started task X)

3. There’s no risk to my boss. If my project works out, revenues will increase and I can get a pay rise. If it fails, every thing remains status quo.

I can’t see how my boss will say no to my reason above. That italy holiday looks like it might become a reality soon.

My challenge to you, my reader is this:

Can you find task X to justify your own pay rise this year?

What area is your company currently not maximising it’s potential in?
How can you fill that gap?
What will be there expected gains from your contributions?
Can it be measured? (it’s important to measure your additional contributions as it’ll form the baseline to negotiate your pay rise against)

Once you’ve figured that out, head on to Part 2 of our guide on salary negotiation. You’ll find actual word-for-word scripts on how to ask for a pay raise that you can use in your own negotiation.

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