The Art of Asking for a Raise: Advocating for Your Worth at Work

In the world of work, advocating for oneself is crucial. As feminist icon Gloria Steinem once said, “We are the women our parents warned us against, and we are proud.” This statement emphasizes the importance of standing up for oneself and not being afraid to advocate for what we deserve, including a raise at work.

While asking for a raise can be a nerve-wracking experience, it’s an essential conversation that can significantly impact your career trajectory and financial health. Here are steps to help you approach this important discussion with confidence and strategy.

Understand the Market

Before approaching your manager, equip yourself with the knowledge of the market rate for your role. Websites like Glassdoor, PayScale, or LinkedIn Salary Insights can be helpful resources. Understanding where you stand in relation to the market can provide you with a solid footing in your negotiation.

Build Your Case

As Stanford negotiation professor Margaret A. Neale suggests, successful negotiation is backed by strong evidence1. Document your accomplishments, new responsibilities, and instances where you’ve gone above and beyond your role. This evidence will serve as the backbone of your argument.

Time it Right

Timing plays a significant role when it comes to asking for a raise. Generally, performance review periods or the end of a fiscal year can be opportune times, as budgets are being set. However, if these periods are distant, choose a time when your manager is less likely to be stressed or overwhelmed.

Request a Meeting

Rather than springing the conversation on your manager unexpectedly, send an email to request a specific meeting to discuss your compensation. This will give your manager time to prepare and indicates your seriousness about the discussion.

Practice Your Pitch

Just as athletes train before a big game, rehearsing your pitch can help you present your case confidently and clearly. As communication expert Carmine Gallo advises in his book “Talk Like TED,” articulating your ideas effectively is key to persuasion2.

Conduct the Conversation Professionally

During the meeting, present your case assertively yet respectfully. Anticipate questions and be ready to counter any pushback with your prepared evidence.

Prepare a Plan B

If a raise isn’t possible at this time, consider other negotiable items. Perhaps you might ask for additional vacation time, professional development opportunities, or the flexibility to work from home.

Follow Up

Don’t leave the meeting without a clear idea of the next steps. If your manager needs time to consider your request, agree on a specific date for a follow-up conversation.

Asking for a raise is more than just about getting a bigger paycheck—it’s about recognizing your worth and advocating for it. It’s a testament to your contributions, skills, and experience. And above all, it’s a step towards acknowledging that you are indeed the professional your experience has shaped you to be—worthy and proud.


1: Neale, M. A., & Lys, T. (2015). Getting (More of) What You Want: How the Secrets of Economics and Psychology Can Help You Negotiate Anything, in Business and in Life. Basic Books
2: Gallo, C. (2014). Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds. St. Martin’s Press