Salary is the primary factor for everyone to take a job. We all need money because it pays for our needs. Even if you love what you do for a living, you are doing it because you have to make sure you have a roof over your head, a hot meal in your tummy, or a health and other benefits package for your family. But when and how to ask for a raise in salary is a tricky question.

In some cases employers are generous enough to increase salaries on time, but in many cases employers have to be notified about a due increment. Regardless of the nature of your job, there can be a situation when you have to ask for a raise in salary, but you do not really know when and how to ask for a raise. You might have some of the following or all these queries in mind:

  • How to ask for salary increase sample letter
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  • What not to say when asking for a raise
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This article will answer all the above and some more queries related to pay raises and guide you through an effective way so you can know when and how to ask for a raise in salary and negotiate salary the better way.

Let’s divide the procedure into two sections, i.e. first, when to ask for a raise in salary and second, how to ask for a pay raise. 

Let’s get started

When to Ask for a Raise in Salary

There can be tens of different situations that qualify you for an increment. Let’s explore the specific times when it makes sense to ask your boss for a raise.

1- Your Company Has Reported a Strong Quarterly Earnings

This makes true sense to reward employees especially the top performers when profits are up, however, it can be tricky at times too. For instance,  if your company has recently downsized to cut costs and increase profitability, it’s probably not the right time to ask for a raise.

2- Pay Raise with a Performance Review

Annual or bi-annual performance review is the most common tool companies use to grow their employees to the next level. Some companies even follow a quarterly review system and some have employee of the month reward system too.

Ideally, you should get a raise in salary or a bonus with a performance review, but just in case the performance review didn’t result in an increased monetary benefit, it’s always good to ask for a raise.

You do not need to write any detailed document or a letter, just an informal one liner asking your boss about a raise should do fine.

Sample Salary Increase Email to Boss During a Performance Review

Hello {Boss},

Trust you are doing great.

I received my performance review report recently. The appraisal letter didn’t mention anything about an increase in my salary while I was expecting a pay raise after a lot of hard work and dedication. 

It will be great if we can talk about it further. Please, let me know the best possible time when we can meet to have a word!

Looking forward to hearing from you, sooner!


{Your Name}

3- After an Outstanding Achievement

Many companies that have set targets for employees, i.e., XXX amount of sales. If you are into such a job where you are given specific goals that directly contribute to the profitability of the company,  you deserve to ask for a raise right after you crush a job goal. 

For instance, you have made double or more sales than the target, or you have developed a system that reduced the operating costs by 25% or more. 

4- You Are Underpaid

Knowing how much salary you are worth is crucial, no matter what industry you are working in or what career level it is. It can give you instant feedback on whether you are being paid what you deserve or not.

If you find you are being underpaid, you deserve to ask for a raise in salary without any hesitation.

5- You Have New Responsibilities

You might have been promoted to a higher position that brings an additional set of responsibilities. It may sound a bit absurd, but many companies promote their employees without an increase in salary, so you do have the right to ask for it.

You might not want to ask for a raise immediately after you have been assigned an additional or bigger responsibility, but once you have proved that you can deliver what you have been assigned very well!

On the other hand if you’re feeling overworked, i.e. staying late is the new normal or you are juggling too many assignments, chances are that your boss is taking advantage of you. In such a situation you must take the lead and get it settled either through a pay raise or hiring an assistant for you.

6- You Are Considering Switching Jobs

Better salary tops the reasons when people switch jobs, and if that is your case, discussing a possible pay raise with your current employer is not a bad idea. However, you must do it with an offer letter on the table from another company. It can give you leverage.

How to Ask for a Raise in Pay

After reviewing the possible situations from the first step, if you are sure that you deserve a pay raise, you can rightfully ask for it. Let’s explore how to properly ask for a pay raise.

1- Don’t Ask via Email

As discussed before, sending an email is a great way to schedule a meeting. But make sure the actual discussion must be done in person. 

2- Consider the Timing

Don’t ask at a high-stress time; research and find when your boss is particularly stressed and overworked, avoid that time. See when the boss is in a good mood, it’s the best time to discuss.

3- Stay to the Point

Don’t explain too many personal details, i.e. your wife lost a job, you need money to send your child to college etc. Stick to the professional reasons (discussed above as when to ask for a raise) why you deserve an increase in salary.

4- Make Your Own Case

Never discuss colleagues’ salaries as a reason why you should get a raise. Even if a coworker makes more money than you and you think that you deserve an equal salary, better not to mention it.

It’s not ethical to compare yourself with coworkers, and you never know, there can be more rumors than facts.  So, focus on yourself, and explain why you should get a raise on your own merits.

5- Prepare What to Say

Ideally you should be fully prepared and have your notes along to make sure you discuss exactly what you need to. Prepare what you’re going to say to get a raise.

Rehearse to recognize and reduce your fear and anxiety of discussing money. Take notes and practice staying calm throughout the discussion.

6- Keep the Professionalism

Be careful about where you take the discussion. You should not look too demanding, but of course, be confident and assertive in your request.

Be careful with your tone; remain patient, professional, and understanding. Never give an ultimatum unless you’re willing to lose the job.  

What to Expect & Do After Asking for a Raise

You must want to know the outcome immediately after the meeting, however, you may not get an instant answer. In the case of a small business with few employees where your boss is the only person eligible to decide a pay raise, you may get an answer shortly.

However, if your organization has several departments / teams, your immediate supervisor may not even have the authority to give you a pay raise even if they want to. It may take a few days or a couple of weeks to get your case to the  human resources and/or other company managers.

Know When to Walk Away

Just because you know how and when to ask for a raise doesn’t mean you’ll automatically or instantly get what you deserve. Many organizations have pre-set policies that determine salaries and raises, so there may not be flexibility to increase your salary other than when you are eligible under company guidelines.

So, don’t feel bad if your request is turned down. There can be several reasons for it including that the company is not in a great financial shape. Compare the situations and it’s never too late to get your updated resume distributed to several employment agencies, so you can find higher paying jobs somewhere else and land a job that pays better than the current one.

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