5 Things I Ask Myself Before Asking for a Raise

Angling for a raise? Ask yourself this woman's go-to questions.

Asking for a raise can be intimidating, but the key is to make sure you are performing at the top of your game. So, before I go to leadership for more money, I do a self-evaluation as a check to make sure I’m putting my best foot forward.

Here is the checklist I use before I ask for a raise. Consider asking yourself these questions the next time you are eyeing that pay increase.

Click to read more about essential things to ask about during a salary negotiation.

1. How Has My Attendance Been?

Have I been late excessively without an explanation? How many days have I taken off in the last 90 days? Every job is different, and I have a lot of flexibility, vacation time, etc. That said, it shouldn’t be taken advantage of–or leadership will notice. It is important to me that everyone knows I take my role seriously. Excessive time off can hinder projects and deliverables. I know that those in power are always watching, so I make sure I’m compliant with the spoken and unspoken rules.

2. Do I Meet All the Deadlines for My Assignments?

We may not think the portion of work we are responsible for is important to an organization, but it is. All of the pieces work together, which is why I meet all of my deadlines the majority of the time. If there is a case where I need an extension, I ask well in advance and notify everyone who is impacted by my work.

More on Getting a Pay Bump: If You Hear These 10 Phrases, Kiss That Raise Goodbye

3. Did I Work on the Opportunities for Improvement from My Last Performance Review?

This is one of the most important questions because it can be a deal breaker. If I have not acknowledged and acted on suggested improvements from a performance review, there is no point in asking for more money. I don’t have a leg to stand on. The same goes for if I’ve had a run-in with my boss that resulted in a verbal reprimand or write-up.

4. How Have I Brought Value to the Company to Warrant a Raise?

If I receive an annual merit increase each year, I must justify why the company should give more than they already do annually. It’s a different story if I haven’t received a raise in a year or more — I’d have more leverage. So, of course, the strategy here is dependent on how often raises are given within the company.

I spoke with Daisy Wright, a director at Wayne State University, who suggested that I look for ways I saved the company money. “Saving an organization money by creating a more efficient process, or contracting with lower cost vendors or other bottom line reduction is key. It’s not the only way to add value, but it is definitely a great way to plead your case for an increase in pay,” she said.

Other ways I consider adding value are taking on additional projects or stepping in to assist colleagues in moving assignments and projects forward.

Once I’m clear on why I should get a bump in pay or promotion, I write down my key points and practice how I’m going to articulate them. I find that being ready (respectfully and professionally) for each objection will show that I’ve done my research and know my worth.

Learn More: Use Your Body Language to Win Mentors and Earn Raises

5. Have There Been Layoffs or Budget Cuts Recently?

I would appear completely out of touch if I had heard or witnessed budget cuts and layoffs and then went to my leadership asking for a raise. In times like these, you need to be happy to have a seat at the table. The only time asking for a raise under these conditions might make sense is if several people were laid off and I permanently assumed a lot more duties. Then I could make a case that a raise for me still saves the company money in that they aren’t paying the full salaries of two or three people.

So, what would I do if I didn’t get the raise? Nope, I’m not storming out of there in a fit of rage. Remember, I’m a professional. If I don’t believe I’m being treated fairly or paid as much as I should, I will look for another position that would serve as a promotion for me. I wouldn’t make a lateral move — that defeats the purpose. If my employer explained that the budget was just not there this year, but they do know I’m an asset, I’d wait for another opportunity. It all depends on how it’s handled.

How about you? How do you prepare to ask for a raise?

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