Asking for a raise can be one of the most stress-inducing, awkward processes you go through at work. But it’s a necessary part of being in the workforce. Because being paid what you deserve is crucial to feel valued at work and feel like your time is well spent.
Not asking for a raise can seem like the easy way out to avoid an awkward conversation with your boss about your worth to the company. However, by doing that, you’re allowing a great disservice to yourself by not taking your future into your own hands.
Here are the top 5 most common mistakes professionals make when asking for a raise.
Mistake #1: Not asking for a raise in the first place.
Obvious mistake? Absolutely. However, a 2018 survey by PayScale reported that nearly two-thirds of the 160,000 people questioned have never asked for a raise.
What’s more, if they’ve never asked for a raise, they’ve likely never received one by the goodwill of their employer alone.
Although it can seem awkward—especially if you’re shy, reserved, or feel uncomfortable talking about money—you must get in the habit of asking for a raise. If you never ask, you run the risk of stagnating in your career, feeling under appreciated, or falling into a risky habit of doing the bare minimum because you’re dissatisfied with your salary—which will likely lead to performance review issues when you finally drum up the courage to ask for a raise.
Mistake #2: Relying on your employer to make the first move.
You may be waiting for your employer to set the meeting, or announce that long-awaited annual review so you can approach the subject of your raise.
However, it’s vital that you know this: you shouldn’t wait for your employer to offer up an annual review, or a one-on-one meeting where you’ll get the opportunity to ask for a raise. If you’ve been at your company for at least a year, it is reasonable to ask for a performance review so you can discuss a pay raise.
Mistake #3: Asking for a raise too soon.
It can be tempting to ask for a raise the second you take on extra work for a position your employer has been dragging their feet to fill. You’re valid in feeling that you should be compensated for any extra work you take on.
However, it can be a difficult path to forge if you have yet to prove that your contributions have helped meet department goals or have been beneficial to the company.
That’s why it’s important to keep track of all the things you’re doing that are helping save the company money, optimize time spent on projects, win over new clients, or other essential metrics unique to your position.
By documenting your contributions, you’re creating a list of evidence-based reasons why you deserve a raise. Prove your case, and you’re more likely to get the raise.
Typically, employees wait a year for an annual review to ask for a raise. You don’t necessarily have to follow this rule if your position and workload have changed dramatically from what you were initially hired on to do. Just keep in mind that you’ll need documentation to prove to your boss why a raise (or even promotion) is justified.
Mistake #4: Not believing that you deserve a raise.
Confidence is an important factor of success in any part of your life—be it personal or professional. Knowing and believing that you’ve put in a lot of hard work will help give you a subconscious leg up when it’s time to ask.
This is yet another reason you should create a list of accomplishments you’ve made while in this position. Effective work and contributions to successful projects can often be overshadowed by the nonstop projects and unavoidable doldrums of everyday work life.
If you find yourself lacking in confidence, make a list of all your accomplishments, assists you’ve made, projects you’ve led successfully, and so forth. It will help you build confidence to see all the great work you’re doing on paper, and prepare you to ask for the raise you deserve.
Mistake #5: Not having a smaller request ready.
If you ask for your raise and are told no, all hope is not lost. Be prepared with smaller requests that will be easier for your boss to say yes to.
That’s because although your boss may not be in a position to give you a raise right now, you may be able to turn that no into a successful request for one remote day a week, or even an extra vacation day or two per year.