How to Ask for a Raise—and When It’s the Right Time

May 22, 2023

7 min read

How to Ask for a Raise—and When It's the Right Time

Are you due for a raise? Would your boss agree? What’s the best way to ask for a raise? When’s the right time?

Asking for a raise is never an easy task. It requires careful consideration and planning in order to make the most of the opportunity. It’s important to have clear objectives in mind. We’ll go over how to prepare and practice the conversation.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • When to ask for a raise
  • Setting up the salary conversation
  • What you should tell your boss
  • What you should ask your boss
  • How to practice asking for a raise using an AI speech coach

When to Ask for a Raise

Before you move forward with asking for a raise, make sure you’re familiar with your company’s current policies, eligibility criteria, timelines, and procedures. Once you have clarity, and you believe you’re eligible, a few more stars need to align for the time to be right. Here’s what should come together:

  • You’ve been with the company—and in your current position—long enough. Of course, “long enough” is a relative amount of time that you’ll have to intuit or determine based on the experience of others or the policy of the company.
  • You deserve a raise. Make sure you’ve consistently demonstrated excellent performance in your current role and have exceeded the expectations of your employer.
  • The company is growing. If your organization is going through downsizing and layoffs, it’s probably not the best time to ask for a raise. But, if your organization is hiring and its budget is growing, it could be a great time to ask for a raise.
  • Your boss isn’t too busy or stressed. Even if your supervisor is happy with you, they might have too much on their plate to take on one more thing. Don’t push it; wait for a more opportune time.

It might be helpful for you to schedule a preliminary meeting with your boss to discuss your career goals and ask for feedback on your performance. That will help you gauge the situation and make a wise decision about moving forward with a raise request.

Setting Up the Salary Conversation

You don’t just walk into your boss’s office and ask for a raise, right? First, you need to set the scene. There are a few variables here that determine the best way to do this. If you have the option to discuss the matter in person, request a private meeting with your boss. With so many remote jobs these days, this might not be possible. If it’s not, request a video conference or a phone call.

Even though you’re scheduling a time to meet, you don’t want to drop a bomb by waiting until the meeting to tell your boss what it’s about. When you request the time, let your boss know that you want to talk about your performance and value to the company.

You might specifically say that you’d like to discuss your qualifications and eligibility for a raise. Use your best judgment and your knowledge of your boss’s style and preferences. The main thing is not to catch them off guard; you want to give them a chance to prepare for the conversation.

What You Should Tell Your Boss

When you meet to ask for a raise, don’t lead off with “the big ask.” Instead, start with a statement that you want to discuss your value to the company.

Keep in mind that you’re making a case; you’re building an argument. Your goal is to persuade your boss that you deserve a raise. That means that you need to present the reasons why you deserve it. You must convince your boss that your contribution to the company is worth what you’re asking for.

When you meet, it’s a good idea to start off with a sincere, respectful tone of appreciation. Express your gratitude for the time you’ve already spent with the company and under your boss’s leadership. Let them know that it’s your pleasure to be part of the team. Tell them that you’re excited about the future of the company and that you want to be part of it. Make it clear that you’ve already contributed to the company, and aim to be more and more valuable to them.

Your Prep Notes

Of course, this takes some preparation on your part. Make some notes for yourself that include these details:

  • How long you’ve been with the company
  • How long you’ve been at your current pay level
  • Specific things you’ve learned and accomplished, including ways you’ve gone above and beyond expectations: This probably will entail concrete data that you should have ready. Consider your performance over the past year in particular and how that translates into a tangible benefit for your employer.
  • Specific ways you’re willing to make a greater contribution to the company
  • The pay level you plan to ask for: It’s important to understand what salary level is appropriate for your position. Do some research on websites such as Glassdoor, PayScale, or to see how current market trends might affect your job and to find a good starting point when making your case.
  • The pay level you’re willing to settle for: Be ready to negotiate. Consider what leverage you have and how to present it in the most persuasive manner. It’s also important to understand your employer’s interests, financial or otherwise.

You’re asking to be paid more than you’re paid right now. That means that you need to demonstrate that you’re making a bigger contribution now than you were when your current pay level was set—or that you will make a bigger contribution at a higher pay level. That could entail taking on new challenges and greater responsibility. Convince your boss that you’re more valuable to the company now—or that you will be from now on. You’re an investment worth making.

What You Should Ask Your Boss

It all comes down to this: asking for a raise. You’ve set the stage. You’ve presented your case. Now you want to clarify that you’re asking your boss to consider increasing your pay to a specific level. And, you’re ready to hear their thoughts on what you’ve presented.

It’s important to remain flexible when negotiating salary increases. Although you might be aiming for a certain outcome, it’s important to remain open to alternative solutions that could still be beneficial for both parties. By keeping an open mind, you can usually come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

You might get an instant “Yes.” Perhaps you’ll get an instant “No.” Your supervisor might have feedback on areas where you can improve before being considered for a raise. If that’s the case, be receptive and grateful. Then, prepare to take action to address any areas for improvement.

If you just get a hard “No,” ask what you can do to meet their expectations. This is a dialogue, so ask good questions and listen well for recommendations and direction. Be sure to thank your supervisor for their time and helpful feedback, and express a positive outlook for the future.

How to Practice Asking for a Raise

Whether you ask for a raise in person, over the phone, or via web conferencing, it’s in the context of a live conversation. It’s wise to practice what you plan to say and how to deal with follow-up questions. The Yoodli AI-powered speech coach can help with both of these. It’s free, fun, and effective. Here’s how to practice your salary conversation with Yoodli.

Presenting Your Case

  • Sign up or sign in at
  • Make sure you have a camera and microphone connected. (If you don’t want to use the video feature, Yoodli will record just the audio. You just won’t get feedback on visual aspects of your delivery, such as eye contact.)
  • Hover over Practice, and select Speech.
  • Click Start.
  • Record what you plan to say. Then, click on Stop and Save Recording.
  • In just a moment, Yoodli will provide you with a transcript of what you said and analytics on your word choices and delivery. This includes feedback on your filler words, weak words, etc.

Answering Follow-Up Questions

  • Hover over Practice, and select Interview.
  • Click on “I want to practice with my own questions.”
  • In the My Questions area, manually enter a question you think you might be asked during the conversation. For example, you could add “Are you willing to put in more time than you do now?” or “Can you ask again in six months after the new budget is set?”
  • Toggle on the Ask Me AI Follow-Ups. (This option works for one question at a time because it generates the next question based on your answer to the first question.)
  • When you’re ready, click on Start Practicing.

This video walks you through the AI Follow-Ups feature.

We believe that you’ll find Yoodli’s analytics helpful. The AI follow-up questions give you experience in quick thinking and impromptu speaking, and they help you know what you can expect. And, much of the app’s value is the way it lets you practice on your terms, as much as you want.

Wrapping Up

The more you prepare and practice, the more comfortable you’ll be. And, the more effective your salary conversation will be. By following these tips, you can put yourself in the best possible position when asking for a raise. Just remember to stay confident and keep your objectives in mind.

Whatever happens, asking for a raise is a positive step in advancing your career. Even if you don’t get what you ask for, the conversation can help you better understand what you need to do to get there in the future. Good luck!


Start practicing with Yoodli.

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