Career Tips

June 2016

Want More Money?

Want more money? Never go into a situation where you are requesting a raise without having some kind of business case backing up how you have made money, saved money, or saved time. Bosses respond best when you can show how you are a profit center for the organization.

Hot Tips for Asking for a Raise

By Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, Pathfinder Writing and Career Services

The economy has been improving by leaps and bounds, and companies are injecting more life into their salary budgets as their bottom line gets fatter.

You’ve been waiting in the wings, watching this progression, after having suffered through the Great Recession. 

Maybe you endured salary cuts while the company struggled to survive.

Maybe other people have since been hired at higher wages, and you are now starting to grind your teeth at the unfairness of it all.

Well, now is the time to jump into action.

But before you knock on the boss’ door to have THE SALARY CONVERSATION, you want to be as well prepared as possible.

Here are some tips to help you navigate this conversation and make the best case possible for a wage hike:

  1. Do some digging around and know your numbers. Look up comparable salaries using industry websites and / or salary calculators such as,,, and Many of these sites have geographically-adjusted numbers so you can create a rough aggregate of what the appropriate, industry competitive wage is for your job function.
  2. Review your original job description from when you got hired. Does it even look remotely the same? A lot of times, companies keep piling work on long-term employees due to other people leaving and then never shift those responsibilities off to new hires. If you are doing double the work, it’s time to remind an employer about this as another reason to give you a boost.
  3. Start talking about your work to your boss. Some bosses might say simply, “Go forth and produce” and then slide back into their office and close the door.  They don’t have a clear snapshot of your productivity nor a pulse on your daily tasks. So proactively provide monthly updates on where you are working on so they are more up-to-the-moment informed about your contributions to the company.
  4. How many years have you been there? Unless you have truly maxed out at the very highest level, there’s usually some kind of wiggle room for a cost of living increase at the very least that should be provided year over year.
  5. It’s all about the money… or is it? If you have topped out in terms of salary, consider other options, like asking for increased vacation time.
  6. Demonstrate you are a profit center, not a cost center. You’ll need to think of examples where you added to the bottom line through efficiency gains, cost savings, or additional business revenues.
  7. Create a business case. Now it is time to do some deep dive digging and pull out examples of your biggest on-the-job wins, and provide just the facts. Show how you have made a difference at the company by citing specific examples of how you have helped the company.  Be clear, concise, and specific.  What was the challenge, what did you do to fix it, and how did the company benefit? Quantify EVERYTHING.  Don’t use vague terms like “successful” – what the heck does that mean? How did you determine whether something was a success or not? What were the metrics?

Now that you have your ducks in a row, you are ready to set up a meeting with a boss. If possible, try to schedule it over lunch outside of the office so you feel psychologically that you are on neutral ground.

And don’t be afraid. Employers expect top performers to be compensated and oftentimes, have accounted for this in their budgeting.

Remember, if you don’t ask, you won’t receive. 

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