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Do These Basic Things When Negotiating For A Raise At Work

As the world feels like it’s returning to normal, more people are returning to their offices after working remotely. Others are looking for jobs to replace ones lost when businesses laid off workers or closed down entirely. But there is still a shortage of workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported millions of jobs remain unfilled, a record high not witnessed in the last twenty years.

In this shortage, some employees find they are doing the tasks formerly assigned to multiple people. In addition to the usual reasons workers ask for a boost in pay, the extra productivity is a practical reason to leverage your employer.

Photo: Ground Picture/Shutterstock

Use Concrete Examples And Data

It’s imperative to approach negotiations with confidence. Still, you also should have a plan to show why the business should raise your pay rate. Bring notes to remind you how you added value to the company with quantifiable examples. Examples of where you’ve saved the company money will be good selling points.

Before asking for a pay raise meeting,  consider requesting a performance review. A review will not only highlight to your boss the things you’ve done well, but it will also make you aware of areas of needed improvement. You may find you have to reconsider and shore up some of those areas up first.

Come Prepared

Once you’ve scheduled the meeting, be sure to be prepared. Look online for similar salary averages and benefits packages to ensure you’re in line with the market. If you’re significantly underpaid, having data from online resources like LinkedIn, Foundit, and Glassdoor can shore up your request. And rehearse what you’re going to say, including possible answers to adverse reactions, so you’re well prepared. Enlist family or friends to listen and push back with possible scenarios.

In the negotiations, accomplishments for the company are more important to stress than your seniority. The length of employment is not an accurate indicator of the strength of the employee. Newer workers may have more energy and less burnout.  Longer-term workers may have slowed down their productivity over time for various reasons.

Dress Well

Approach the day of the meeting well-rested and professionally polished in your attire and grooming. As the old saying goes, “dress for the job you want.”  Dressing more professionally may require borrowing or purchasing clothes to augment your wardrobe. But it’s a good investment against the prospect of higher earnings. Not only will it be more impressive to the boss, but you’ll feel better about yourself. It’s a known fact that professional dress can lead to a more professional attitude.

Don’t be afraid to mention ways you’ve improved yourself, like continued education, but keep in mind that it’s not all about you. Managers want the discussion to be less about the employee and more about what the employee has done and can do for the company.


Remain professional. If your boss denies your request for a raise, then gently ask the reason for the denial. You may find it has nothing to do with your performance but instead has to do with pandemic recovery issues or something unrelated to you at all.

That can be the prompting to steer the discussion in a different direction. Perhaps ask for increased time off or changes in other benefits. It’s another reason why pre-planning is so important. Having the number of vacation days and sick days you’ve taken right at your fingertips could be the tipping point to getting you a better benefits package.