Feeling underpaid? It may be time to ask for a raise — but if you're going to ask, you need to make sure you're prepared.
Asking for (and getting) a raise is about a lot more than whether or not you need more money. It's a time to prove that you're valuable to your company, and that you're worth the extra investment, as well as a chance to reflect on your overall performance as an employee. If you do it right, you may just get the raise you want.
Business News Daily asked business and HR experts how to prepare before asking for a pay raise. Before you even think about scheduling a meeting with your boss to discuss your salary, make sure you do these 10 things.
Time it right.
"Find the right moment to ask. This is not something to do when you are unhappy in your job or if the boss is under pressure, possibly in an unhappy place of their own. Be strategic when looking for this conversation." – Brendan King, CEO, King & Bishop
Check your company's policy first.
"It's certainly important to research your company's pay raise policy ahead of time. This may often be posted within your company's Employee Handbook. While there are occasions when employers may give raises outside of their standard practice, your boss will appreciate that you took the time to research existing company policies before approaching them." – Chris Costello, principal and founder, CBG Benefits
Take time to self-reflect.
"Assess your relationships with employees above you and below you and create a vision in your mind of how people perceive you. Ensure you are not blindsided by a blemish on your personal brand due to intraoffice conflict." –Samirat Rivers, director of operations, FPC National
Don't make it personal.
"When comparing wages, factor in the company size. If you work for a small business with 10 employees, your boss won't be able to compensate you the same way a Fortune 500 company could. If you have facts and figures to back up your request, and are paid less than colleagues at other firms, this can help your boss see that it's time for a raise. This strategy works because it's not personal, it's based on the position. You're asking for a raise to compensate you at the current market rate for people with your same title, not on your merit. This makes it difficult to deny your case." - Deanne Arnath, president and CEO, Career Wizards Inc. [7 Salary Negotiation Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them )]
List your accomplishments.
"Make a list of all the measurable ways you've gone above and beyond before you do anything. Plant the seed with your boss that you'd like to be considered for a raise and that you'll be coming with a document which justifies your request. Doing this greases the skids and prepares your boss for the conversation." - Mark Strong, life, career and executive coach, Mark Strong Coaching
Think about the future.
"[Don't just] recount all of [your] contributions and achievements. A more effective approach is to look to the future. What challenges and opportunities face your organization? You have to convince your boss that you are critical to meeting those challenges and capitalizing on opportunities. Do this by volunteering to work on the tough assignments and by drawing a line of sight from your capabilities to the challenges at hand." – Donna Svei, executive résumé writer
Consider more than just money.
"Prepare to possibly negotiate around vacation days or bonus incentives. Adding three or four extra days per year can work in place of salary, and bonus incentives work well for both sides. It keeps in place checks and balances for doing your job." – Michelle Joseph, founder and CEO, PeopleFoundry
Practice makes perfect.
"Practice! Give consideration to how your boss may react or what questions they may ask." – Xari Chartrand, HR business partner, Halogen Software
Test the market.
"You can test the market by talking to a recruiter about your value in the market or by applying for a real vacancy. This isn’t about having a plan to leave if you don’t get the raise, but it will give you a reality check and something to point to, if you are being underpaid relative to the market." –Corrie Shanahan, CEO, The Beara Group
Be prepared for every outcome.
"Be committed to getting the answer that you want, but free about whatever outcome may come. You have to know that if you don't get the outcome you want, that doesn't mean you won't get the raise three months down the line or won't find another great role within your business. One pitfall people get themselves into is they work themselves into a frenzy before they go in. Workers then feel that if they don’t get their way they think they have to leave their job or they think they are not valued, and that is almost universally not true." - Meredith Haberfeld, executive coach and co-founder, Institute for Coaching
Updated June 11, 2015. Business News Daily social media specialist Dave Mielach also contributed to this story.