In a perfect world, your boss hands out raises like they’re candy every time you do something that benefits the company. In this world, that’s not the case. Most likely, you’ll have to approach your boss and be proactive to get yourself a salary boost. Here are some of our best tips on how to have that proverbially awkward conversation.



Hold one or two monthly meetings with your boss to develop 6- and 12-month goals and tie them to a pay raise.

If your company doesn’t already do performance reviews, ask your boss to evaluate your performance thus far. Come up with a benchmark for your performance so you’ll know where to improve, and go over some clear advancements you could make, either for a pay raise for your current position or a promotion into a higher-paying role. Developing some future goals and tying them to a pay increase (only if they’re actually met, of course) will incentivize you to meet those indicators, and give your boss a sense of your accountability.

Take on more responsibilities in line with the core strategy of your company.

Start by consistently delivering (or over-delivering) your original responsibilities and begin to take on more responsibilities that align with where your company wants to be in the future. Simply executing your job won’t ever put you in the position to grow as a professional. If you’re proactive without being prompted, you’ll become a tenacious employee who takes initiative to get what you want, and other people will notice. One thing that’s important to note – don’t just take on ANY responsibilities, take on responsibilities you know you’ll be able to excel at. If you’re presented with an opportunity to maintain your company’s website, but you don’t know the first thing about HTML coding and web design, stick to something that encompasses your strengths more effectively (and something that’ll be harder to “fail” at).

Demonstrate your accomplishments and your wins proactively.

If the only reason you have for wanting a raise is “Well, I’ve been here for a year now,” that most likely won’t work in your favor. Just because you’ve occupied the same cubicle and had the same officemates for a year doesn’t automatically mean you’re deserving of a raise. Prove yourself, not how long you’ve been working with the company. If you did end up taking on more responsibilities, share some of your wins with your boss. Quantifiable wins are the most sure-fire way to prove your worth – did you save the company a percentage of sales by implementing a certain procedure? Did you have the highest sales numbers in your department? Anything quantifiable is a tangible and reliable way to show your boss you’ve been working hard to make a case for yourself.

Do some friendly competitive analysis.

Visit websites such as, and to do some research on the going rate for a position similar to yours. Remember, there will always be some variables – experience, education, and city of residence (by way of cost of living) can all be huge factors in salaries you’re viewing online.

Be sure the timing is right.

If your company is clearly not doing as well as it has in the past, or if your boss is asking different departments to cut costs, the likelihood that he’ll increase your pay isn’t great. Make sure your company is in overall good standing when you decide to call a meeting.

Practice your sales pitch (and practice getting it rejected).

For all intents and purposes, you’re trying to sell yourself as a product or service to your boss. If you’re already in the business of sales, this shouldn’t be too big of a venture for you; if you’re less experienced, this can be very daunting! Think of your Introduction to Public Speaking classes in high school and college. You were always taught to practice those speeches beforehand, so take that same approach when asking your boss for a raise. Create an outline of talking points just like you did for those speeches, and feel free to take that outline into the meeting with you. Unlike the speeches you gave in school, there is the potential for you to get a flat-out “no” as a response. No matter how well-deserved your pay raise may be, sometimes there’s just other things that need to be taken care of before salary negotiations.

If you’ve gone through all the steps for asking for a raise, but it still doesn’t seem to be working out, don’t get too discouraged. Your boss will notice the initiative you took and observe your improvement, and keep you in mind for when the time is right!

 “Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.” – Mia Hamm