How to Ask for a Raise

March 1, 2022
salary negotiation, asking for a raise, how to ask for a raise

Asking for a promotion or raise can be daunting. There are many factors at play, but the time may never feel “right” to do it. The first thing that you should consider is the “why” behind your ask. Are you trying to save up for a deposit on a house? Is the cost of living in your area increasing?

Wait - Don't Leave So Fast!

The job market is crazy here in Nashville, and as a Recruiter I run into scenarios with candidates who know they are worth more and start searching for new roles in new companies. Instead of jumping ship however, they could be asking for a raise or promotion in their current role. You’d be surprised how if you make a good case for why you want a promotion/raise, your boss will most likely listen! All they can do is say no, right? And then you have your answer to search for a job that will value your skills and experience. Or maybe stick it out for another 6 months to a year, and ask again – things can change, especially if you really like what you’re doing currently, and like the culture and people.

Do Your Research

Do your research on market trends in your area. Are new job opportunities in your area paying more or less than what you currently make with your same title? What is the size of the companies that are paying more? How many years of experience are they requiring for those roles? Some companies use titles differently than others, i.e., a Senior Financial Analyst could be making 75k at a smaller company, and the Senior Financial Analyst at Amazon could be making 100k+. Know your place, and the setting. Most companies can’t match the Amazons of the world, but good news is—the market median is rising!

Keep Timing in Mind

Timing can be crucial here, but again, there will never be one ‘right’ time. Obviously, I wouldn’t ask for a raise or promotion the week after a massive layoff within the company—that alone may be a sign to see what other opportunities are in your area. But usually if you wait for something good to happen with your team or yourself, you’ll have good reason to back up your ‘why’ of needing a raise.

Build Your Case for a Raise

Do some self-reflecting here. Why do you deserve a promotion/raise? Did you complete a series of projects in record time without any errors? Have you taken on more responsibility outside of your original job scope? Did you close a big deal? To quote my favorite football coach of all time, Nick Saban, “Mediocre people don’t like high achievers, and high achievers don’t like mediocre people.” Yes, I’m an Alabama fan, but the quote is inspiring. No one probably thinks themselves as a mediocre individual, but how others perceive you is a different story. Do some self-reflecting and think, have I tried to achieve in my current role and been successful? I promise if you have that mindset, and are confident in your abilities, it will show, and you should be deserving of a promotion.

Plant Seeds for a Raise

Planting the seeds in your boss’ ear over time and having clear communication/transparency can help build your case over time. If you don’t have consistent one on one meetings with your boss, or don’t communicate with them, you are doing yourself a disservice. Take the initiative to set these up if they don’t exist. They won’t be annoyed, in fact the opposite: they like to see your initiative in opening up a clear line of communication. Be transparent in goal settings with them, ask them how you can get to the next level, and then hit your goals. This is a way to back up your ‘why’ you need a promotion/raise.


Now for the tough part… asking for the raise or promotion. It’s totally natural to be nervous, and it may seem awkward, but it’s imperative to be an advocate for yourself. Be confident in your strengths and abilities, and practice what you’re going to say to your boss. Set a time to speak with them. Have some materials in writing, or a presentation (i.e. your goals that you set with your boss, KPIs to back up hitting your goals, or list out all the additional responsibilities you take care of now) to show your boss. Taking the extra time and effort can go a long way in this setting. Ultimately, you have to muster up the strength and ask! Again, all they can say is no. But usually, they may want additional time to run the numbers, fact check, and generally think about it (give them a few days and ask again if no response). Be patient and continue to work hard! If the answer is no, make sure you get details as to why it is a ‘no’ so you can assess if it’s time to start searching for a new opportunity. Don’t get discouraged!


I never encourage people to job hunt just to use it as leverage to get a promotion/raise at your current company, but it can work. It may build your confidence up and enforce why you need that extra value at your current company. However, most of the time it burns bridges. If you go this route, you’re dampening your trust with your current boss/company and may have a risk of causing strain on your relationships with your team. Bosses don’t usually respond well to being put in a corner.

All in all, be patient, not emotional, and fact check yourself. Evaluate your reasons ‘why’ you would deserve a promotion, and don’t be afraid to ask! In case asking for a promotion/raise goes awry, reach out to one of our talented professionals here at SHR Talent, and we’d be happy to walk you through your options!


A.C. DeMoss is a Recruiting Manager and part of the marketing team at SHR Talent. When he’s not working, he produces and performs with his band Venture Palace, and enjoys spending quality time with his wife as well as their yellow lab puppy, Toast. He also happens to know all the best places to hang in East Nashville—if you see him, make sure to ask his favorite spots!

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