How to Ask for a Raise…And Get It!

Directional Sign with QuestionsConsider walking into your boss’s office to ask for a raise, and feeling calm and grounded and ready to earn more—not keyed-up, insecure, and ready to hear “no.”

You can do it, says negotiating expert Lisa Gates, co-founder of She Negotiates, but you have to toss out old assumptions about what asking for—and getting—a raise is all about:

  • Step 1: Instead of seeing negotiation as adversarial, think of it as a conversation leading to agreement, Gates says. You’re communicating your thoughts and desires—and inquiring about your boss’s. Pros call it “interest-based negotiation.”
  • Step 2: You may think of negotiation as divvying up pieces of a pie so that one person loses and the other wins. Forget the pie: Gates says to imagine the conversation as a little box between you and your boss. You open the box and play with the parts and put together something that works.
  • Step 3: If your boss says no, ask diagnostic questions based on who, what, where, why, when, how. “What results do I need to produce to make a raise possible?” “Where else can I improve?”

    This allows you and your boss to think of solutions that hadn’t occurred to you before.

  • Step 4: You can’t rush a raise. Follow our tips in the next few weeks, and you’ll be ready to ask for a raise in early November: just in time for your boss’s 2012 budget. And if you hear “no” this time around, you’ll have plenty of time to set up a follow-up meeting early next year to revisit the convo.

Take our poll! We were gob-smacked by the response to Ramit’s post about Dream Jobs last week and would love to get your answer to the following: If your job paid more, would it be your dream job?


<a href=””>If your current position paid more, would it be your dream job?</a>