How to Ask for a Raise Right Now

When is the last time you asked for a raise?

In this economy, knowing when and how to ask could make all the difference. While it’s a delicate time, experts say it may also be the right time.

"I think it’s a good time to ask if you are one of the people that earned the right to do it," said Tom Gimbel, the CEO and V.P. of the LaSalle Network, a Chicago based job and recruiting firm.

Raises are starting to make a comeback, according to experts.

A recent Towers Watson survey found that merit raises this year could be the largest since the financial crisis began in 2008.

But people have to prove themselves before attempting to cash in with the boss. Gimbel said you need to be able to compare yourself to your peers and ask yourself, "are you better than them?"

Don't expect too much. Raise projections for 2011 are about 2.8 percent, according to a survey of U.S. employers by Buck Consultants.

Here are Gimbel’s top three tips for how to ask for a raise:

  • Be Realistic: First, ask a recruiter what people in your market and position are making. A recruiter's job is to know the ins and outs of specific jobs and industries, including compensation and benefits. While PayScale and other salary databases have a range of valuable information, recruiters can provide insight about specific job salaries and can tell you what they are seeing firsthand in various fields. Once you know what others in your market are making, present your research.
  • Have Good Reasoning and Tangible Examples: Outline your job description in comparison to what you are doing on a day-to-day basis. Make sure to provide in detail the tasks or initiatives you independently began or what you did that was above and beyond management's expectations. This should be treated similarly to a job interview, but as opposed to proving why the company should hire you, prove why you deserve a raise. By going into the meeting well-informed with tangible facts, your chances of a raise will be greater.
  • Be Confident: When asking for more money, your tone of voice matters. Make sure to be confident, yet do not come across as demanding. Your voice should be audible and assured. Remember to never raise your voice, even if your boss objects to the raise at first.
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