Doostang News March 22: Show Me the Money! Tips for Negotiating a Raise

Hedge Fund Analyst, New York, NY
Management Consultant, Washington, DC
Investment Associate, Beijing, China
Marketing Intern, Los Angeles, CA
Strategy Analyst, Boston, MA

More jobs we think you’ll like…

Asking for a raise can be a bit tricky. There’s that sentiment akin to asking your parents to tack on a few extra bucks to your allowance; and then there’s the walking-on-eggshells feeling you get in trying not to overstep your boundaries with your boss. But asking for a raise is OK, and it’s a two-way conversation that you can navigate tactfully if you keep a few things in mind:

Do Your Time

Although rightly deserved in some cases, a raise is not going to present itself on Day 2, no matter how convincing you are in presenting your case to your boss. The fact is, in order to rationalize paying you more money for the same work, an employer must see that you have made progress and remained loyal to the company. A company can find any old schmo off the street to do the work for a starting level salary. But go above and beyond, and they may be inclined to attach a few more dollar signs to your value.

Determine Your Reasons

In order to present a convincing case to your boss, it helps to understand why you are asking for a raise in the first place. Is it because your living expenses have gone up? Are you expecting a new addition to the family? Don’t misunderstand; simply desiring a higher salary for your excellent work is a completely valid point. But if you can present these motivations to your employer, you may find that they’re more likely to side with you on this one.

Be Reasonable

Of course you’re going to sound like a child when you put forth the whole “I want a million dollars” offer. That, and you’re going to get shut down very quickly. In order to be taken seriously, present a sensible figure to your boss, one that is on par with the work that you complete. This will get you much farther in negotiating with you boss.

Practice Savvy Negotiating Tactics

Alright, that said, you may want to present a number to your employer that is a bit higher than the actual raise you wish to receive. The boss didn’t get to where they are by being a pushover. They’ll likely try to bargain you down, trying to take you at your bottom limit. Before you propose anything, then, figure out what your bottom limit is. Give your boss a number that is higher than this – but not too high – and once negotiating begins, don’t allow yourself to go below this bottom line. Hopefully, the two of you will settle on something in the middle.

Understand Your Value

Logically, a company wishes to pay as little as they can while still employing reliable employees who complete great work. At the same time, their great wish is to keep their workers happy, which is equally – if not more – important to business. You may view a large corporation powerful and yourself lucky, in that they decided to give you a job in the first place. But it’s crucial to realize that you are equally as vital to them as they are to you. You are valuable and they know it. If you’re doing a great job, bring this up in a negotiation. Present numbers, graphs, or work samples when you go in to speak to your boss. Tell them that you’re worth it and show them why. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Keep these 5 things in mind when negotiating with your employer and you’ll be more likely to get your point across, make a favorable impression, and walk away with what you deserve.

Good luck!

The Doostang Team


  1. J Gloor says

    Oops. Thanks for assuming my boss is male! (To be fair you only slipped up in one paragraph). This is the 21st century. In my present company of about 100, all the people above me, right up to the top level, are female.

  2. J Gloor says

    Oops. Thanks for assuming my boss is male! (To be fair you only slipped up in one paragraph). This is the 21st century. In my present company of about 100, all the people above me, right up to the top level, are female.

  3. Iceice says

    Being a mid-seniority employee is tough. You can try to make a case for a salary increase, but when you do that, you should also be prepared to have a backup solution. Hiring a new employee is costly (time + money) and therefore your company would be willing to throw you a bone to make you happy but there is always the chance that you will make your boss or the HR upset by bringing up a salary increase decision in the middle of a recession.

    An employee should always be smart and time such a discussion at a time when the morale is high within the company (good earnings release etc)

  4. says

    Great point, timing definitely plays a crucial role in how successful your raise request is going to be. Pay attention to the company atmosphere and be smart about when you ask for a pay increase.
    – The Doostang Team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>