The Right Way to a Raise

How to ask for and receive an increase in pay.
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It's all in the way you word your

As anyone who has worked a job knows, a salary increase doesn't always come along just because an employee deserves one. Sometimes you have to ask, and if it's been a while since your last raise, or if you've recently gotten positive feedback from management, now's a good time.

However, says Larney R. Gump, D.Ed., a licensed psychologist and career counselor in Washington, D.C., broaching the subject in the wrong way could weaken your chances. Avoid lines like these:

  • "But so-and-so got a raise." Responsibilities are rarely the same, so comparing yourself to another employee isn't useful. Instead, point out your most recent accomplishments.
  • "If I don't get a raise, I'll quit." Don't give your boss an ultimatum. Instead, offer her a chance to problem-solve by saying something like, "It's been a year since my last raise. What can you do to help me?"
  • "I need the money." Your finances are not your boss's problem. Instead of telling her a sob story, ask how you can earn more.


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