When to Ask for a Raise (and How to Do It)

Posted by Paladin on September 13, 2018

Negotiating a raise can be a daunting task that gives even the most confident employees butterflies. It’s something that few creative professionals look forward to. But unless you plan to seek out a new job that comes with a higher wage, you’ll likely find yourself asking for a bump in pay multiple times over the course of your career.

Get the timing right, deliver a convincing argument, and you may well receive the increase you’re looking for. If the following three statements apply to you and the company you work with, then seize the moment, tamp down your anxiety and ask for that raise.

Your Company is Doing Well

It stands to reason that the best time to ask for a raise is when your employer is financially sound. If events like layoffs, poor quarterly reports and failed product launches are a common occurrence at your organization, doling out more money is the last thing on your boss’s mind.

If, however, sales are up and the business shows signs of growth, your employer will be far more likely to consider your request. This is especially true if you personally had a hand in the company’s success.

You’re Hitting it Out of the Park

Assuming that your company is financially stable and in a position to offer more pay, time your request so that it coincides with a positive performance review. Had a great year professionally? Leverage that momentum. With your stellar accomplishments at the forefront of your boss’s mind, you won’t have to work as hard to prove you’re worthy of a salary increase.

Before you sit down across from your employer, prepare an in-depth overview of your success, with hard data to back you up (e.g. “Over the past three months my landing page designs have increased conversions for the company by 25 percent”). It’s wise to keep track of your achievements over time to make sure you don’t overlook anything. Pinterest’s user experience expert Ximena Vengoechea recommends keeping an “Accomplishments Box” for both personal and professional triumphs. This approach will make it easier to gather the evidence you need to make your case.

Your Current Salary Isn’t On Par With Industry Trends

In preparing to ask for a raise, you will inevitably research what kind of increase is realistic and fair. This is important, because industry knowledge will provide you with a strong argument in favor of more pay.

Your employer may question whether the salary you’re requesting is appropriate for your role, so be ready to explain why it is. Do your due diligence on salary trends in your field and geographic area. If you’re currently making $40,000 as a graphic designer but the median pay for this role in 2017 was $48,700, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, use this data to your advantage. A comprehensive salary guide will tell you everything you need to know.

If you truly are being underpaid, be thoughtful about the language you use to express this. A request for a raise can incite a strong response in some employers. Particularly if they feel they’re being accused of knowingly taking advantage of their staff. As Harvard Business Review reports, 14 percent of employees have found themselves resisting the urge to ask for a raise for fear of damaging their relationship with their boss. To prevent tension and conflict, steer clear of accusatory language and focus on your value and strengths. Your recruiter can help you craft a diplomatic, airtight defense.

Curious about what you’re worth in the current job market? Our 2019 Creative and Marketing Salary Guide has the latest salary figures, industry insights and more.


Posted in: General, Job Seekers, Salary Guide

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