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Asking for a pay raise can be a nerve-wracking experience, but with the right approach, it can also be a rewarding one (for obvious reasons). Whether you’re looking for a salary increase due to your exceptional performance or increased responsibilities, it’s essential to navigate the process wisely & with a bit of forethought. In this guide, we’ll explore the do’s and don’ts of requesting a pay raise from your boss, with the ultimate aim of increasing your potential chance of success.


  1. Prepare and Showcase Your Value: Before approaching your boss, gather evidence of your achievements, contributions, and the positive impact you’ve made on the company. Use concrete examples to highlight your successes, which will help support your case for a pay raise.
  2. Research Industry Salary Standards: Knowing your market value is crucial in negotiations. Conduct thorough research on industry salary standards for your position and level of expertise, so you have a realistic expectation of what you should be earning.
  3. Choose the Right Moment: Timing is everything when asking for a pay raise. Ideally, wait for a moment when you’ve just completed a successful project or received positive feedback. Avoid asking during times of financial strain or when the company is undergoing major changes.
  4. Be Confident and Professional: Approach the conversation with confidence, but maintain a professional and respectful demeanour. Speak clearly and succinctly, outlining the reasons you deserve the raise without being boastful.
  5. Have a Clear and Reasonable Request: Come to the meeting with a specific pay raise amount in mind, backed by your research and accomplishments. Ensure your request is reasonable and in line with the market value for your role.
  6. Anticipate and Prepare for Questions: Be ready to answer any questions your boss may have about your performance, achievements, and proposed pay raise. Anticipating these questions will demonstrate your preparedness and commitment.
  7. Be Open to Negotiation: Be flexible during the negotiation process. If an immediate pay raise isn’t possible, consider alternative forms of compensation, such as additional benefits or a performance-based bonus.


  1. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Colleagues: Focus on your own merits and avoid comparing yourself to colleagues. Your request should be based on your unique contributions and accomplishments, not someone else’s.
  2. Steer Clear of Confrontations: Keep the conversation positive and constructive. Avoid confrontation and demanding a pay raise, as it can create a tense atmosphere and hinder productive negotiations.
  3. Don’t Ask During Financial Strain: Timing is crucial, so avoid requesting a pay raise during times when the company is facing financial difficulties or layoffs. Instead, wait for a more stable period.
  4. Don’t Make It Personal: While financial reasons may be a motivation for your request, avoid discussing personal financial issues during the meeting. Keep the focus on your professional achievements. (This includes arguing “because inflation” – it might be a real pressure for you personally, but it is unlikely to gain any traction with your boss). 
  5. Don’t Use Email for the Request: Requesting a pay raise is a sensitive matter that warrants a face-to-face conversation. Avoid discussing this topic over email, as it may come across as impersonal and less impactful.
  6. Don’t Be Discouraged by a “No”: If your request is initially denied, don’t lose hope. Ask for constructive feedback on how you can improve and what specific goals you need to achieve to be considered for a raise in the future.

Requesting a pay raise requires preparation, confidence, and professionalism. By following these dos and don’ts, you can enhance your chances of success and showcase your value to the company. Remember to approach the conversation positively and be open to negotiations, ensuring a productive and mutually beneficial outcome.