7 Things To Never Say When Requesting a Raise
Working for years without a pay increase can become a struggle and cause stress, especially as the cost of living continues to rise. Whether you’ve been making the same salary for 12 months or for more than a decade, having the money conversation with your boss can be awkward. But when increases don’t come when needed, your only recourse is to ask for them.
Before you have the conversation, though, it’s not only important to arm yourself with all of the right things to say, but also to learn what not to say. Here are a few tips on language to avoid when asking for a raise.
1. “I’m sorry.”
One of the first things many employees say after asking for a raise is, “I’m sorry.” Those words can come back to haunt you. You don’t want to gamble away your leverage by apologizing and weakening your argument.
2. “Take it or leave it.”
The negotiating tactics that may work when buying a car don’t apply when asking for a raise, because in salary negotiations, relationships matter. Coming on too strong could turn your boss off, not only decreasing your chance for a raise, but also souring your relationship. One bad conversation can color all future discussions, after all.
Engage your boss in a respectful, professional manner, while also staying somewhat firm regarding the figure you’re after
3. “I want a 40% increase.”
While asking for substantial raise might seem like a good idea after scoring big on a huge project, actually getting that raise might be something you’ll regret down the road. Face it—your results need to match your bravado. The more money your employer hands you, the more they’re expecting. And you still need to be able to meet those expectations.
4. “I deserve a raise—now.”
Assertiveness is important in the workplace; it shows you’re driven and not afraid to ask for what you need. However, when it comes to wage negotiations, a more flexible, indeterminate approach is better. You don’t need to be demanding—you can instead show why you deserve a raise using examples. Speak in a positive way. And remember, you don’t want to give a monologue, you want to have a conversation.
5. “Look at all I’ve accomplished.”
When you approach your boss armed with data on all you’ve accomplished, that could work against you, because you’re focusing on the past rather than the future. Instead, focus on what you plan to accomplish in the future, and how you want to grow with the company.
6. “I’ll state a figure first.”
When asking for a raise, some people engage in “anchoring,” which means that the first figure stated becomes the starting point in negotiations. That’s not always a good idea. If you put a number out there immediately, you risk it being rejected right away. Giving a range or providing less specificity might work to your advantage.
When you receive an offer, whether it’s extremely low or high, play it cool. Try to avoid an immediate reaction that conveys too much emotion. Most negotiation errors are made in the emotional heat of the moment. You can avoid that by showing an appropriate level of appreciation for an offer, and then asking how long you have to make your decision.
Asking for a raise is all about how you approach the conversation, compromise, and maintain a good working relationship. If you’re ready to get that raise, meet with a SoFi Career Coach to get personalized guidance on your next steps.