Earn/Save Money

Underpaid? How to Ask for a Raise

You would probably be hard pressed to find someone who said they didn’t need a raise at their job. Most people believe that they’re underpaid, but I can almost guarantee that a lot of those people never step up and ask for more money. This is especially true with women – who are far less likely to negotiate their salaries than men. The cost over her career? About $500,000.

So how do you get over your fears of asking for what you deserve? Try following these tips for how to properly ask for a raise.

1. Keep a running file of your accomplishments: You should be doing this anyway so that you’re prepared when work reviews come around. If you haven’t started, start now. Build your case with specifics you can quantify, focusing on the value you bring to the company.

  • How much new or repeat business did you bring in?
  • How much traffic did you bring to their web site?
  • How did you save the company time or money, or earned it more exposure?

2. Make yourself stand out: The weeks leading up to your raise request, you need to put in extra effort to make yourself more visible than usual. Your bosses get caught up in their own work and can often fail to notice all of the great work that you’ve been doing.

3. Research what your job is worth online for free:

  • GetRaised.com – an amazing service that will tell you if you’re underpaid, and if you are, it helps you lay out a logical raise request that includes data that supports why you should get a raise. It even gives you this info already formatted as a letter to your boss. They walk you through the process of submitting your letter, having a meeting to discuss compensation, and getting your raise. 
  • Salary.com – use their salary wizard to find comparable salaries, and posts educating you on salary negotiation.
  • PayScale.com – input info about about your job and unique background and skills, and they give you a precise look at what you should be getting paid

how to ask for a raise


4. Have the right timing: 

  • Don’t catch your boss off guard by asking for a quick chat. Send a formal request to meet to discuss your work and future with the company.
  • Ideally you want to try and time it right after you’ve done something great for the company
  • Try to catch them earlier in the day before they get the chance to get tired, cranky and less willing to work with you on your raise.

5. Ask for more: Some experts suggest asking for 10% more than the mid-range, but keep in mind your company’s size and your experience. No matter what you’re asking for, always bump it up – so if you want a 10% raise, ask for 15% knowing that they will try to negotiate you down (score if they don’t).

6. Don’t accept no!: If the answer is no, ask for other benefits. Things like more vacation days, bonuses or child-care allowances can often be negotiated as part of your compensation if the company insists they can’t give in to a raise. Talk with your HR department to learn what options you could come to the table with. If there is no budging, be sure to ask what needs to be done on your end for them to see more value going forward. Ask them to be as specific as possible and don’t get offended when they point out where you need improvement.

7. Leave these things out:

  • Never involve what your co-workers make
  • Never mention the personal reasons why you need more money.
  • Never threaten your boss with taking another job.

Remember, the worst thing you could do is not ask for a raise. You need to keep your bosses aware of the value you bring to your company and why your pay should reflect that. As with all things in life, you get what you have the courage to ask for. Goodluck!



  1. These are all really good tips! Great post.

  2. Great tips. I actually just went through this experience and wish I had read this beforehand, the “leave these things out” is extremely important! Great post :)

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