How to Approach Your Boss About a Raise

With tech company salaries becoming increasingly competitive, learning how to approach your boss about a pay raise is an important skill.

Even if you’re lucky enough to score a job with a high-paying company, it’s likely that at one time or another, you’ll be in a position where you want (or need) to start a dialogue about bumping up your current pay. But, if you don’t know how to approach it correctly, you could have a tough time getting the pay you deserve. Or, worse, you might completely tarnish your reputation and jeopardize your job with that company.

With that in mind, here are five rules for approaching your boss about a raise. Follow these dos and don’ts to make sure you’re in the best position for a salary increase, without the risk of damaging your reputation.

DO ask at the right time.

You might feel like you deserve a raise right now, but the reality is, most companies have designated review periods — usually once or twice a year — where your boss is allowed to submit pay increases for his or her team. Aligning your request with one of those review periods definitely ups your chances of getting what you deserve.

It’s also a good idea to try and align that request with the completion of a big project or a significant accomplishment. Asking for a raise when you’re coasting along doesn’t necessarily inspire generosity. Instead, take advantage of the positivity surrounding your big win by asking just after it’s finished.

DON’T just ask without doing your research.

Going into your manager’s office and simply declaring, “I want a raise,” isn’t likely to work out the way you want. First of all, it’s the employee’s responsibility to make a case for increases to company salaries (but more on that in a moment). The bigger problem is that even if your boss grants you a raise, it may not be the increase you deserve based on your skills, experience, and accomplishments. And once your boss grants the raise, you now have to wait until the next review period to even ask again.

Luckily, Paysa can be a huge help here. Simply enter your company, job title, and compensation information into Paysa’s “Pay Raise” tool, and you’ll get an in-depth breakdown of exactly what you should be asking for from your boss:

Example output from Paysa’s “Pay Raise” tool

DO put together a proposal.

Take the time to piece together your recent accomplishments (and accompanying results), as well as the salary data from Paysa to present to your boss. A written proposal shows you’ve done your research and appropriately prepared for the review.

DON’T give an ultimatum (unless you’re ready to quit).

Threatening to leave if you don’t get a raise is the easiest way to fail. Not only will you not get a salary increase, but chances are also you’ll lose your job. There are rare circumstances where people can successfully leverage their employment to get a raise and even rarer situations where you should.

DO be prepared to suggest alternatives.

Sometimes, a raise just isn’t in the cards. You might alright be at the maximum company salary for your position, and there’s nothing your boss can do. That’s where you need to get creative: check out this post on the Paysa blog to see six things you can negotiate when salary isn’t an option.

Want access to more helpful advice and salary data? Check out today to evaluate your salary and start negotiating your pay raise.

Originally published at on October 16, 2017.