Asking for a raise during an annual performance review can be an extremely anxiety-inducing experience for even the most seasoned professionals. Understanding how to set the right tone for this conversation is essential for achieving a salary increase or promotion. Throughout this guide, we’ll help you prepare for your next performance evaluation and provide valuable insights to help you achieve your long-term career goals.

Evaluate Your Own Performance

Highlighting the value that you bring to your organization is key to conducting a successful salary negotiation. If you can demonstrate that your performance has been a strong asset to the company, you’ll be in a much better position to ask for a raise. However, suppose you find during this time of self-reflection that your performance has been lacking in key areas. In that case, you may want to avoid initiating a salary negotiation until you can confidently say otherwise. Managers need to weigh the cost of keeping or losing employees based on what they bring to the organization, and they won’t be likely to invest in you if your contributions aren’t up to company standards.

Update Your Resume with Metrics and Achievements

Updating your resume with metrics, monetary figures, and numbers can be a strong asset during a salary negotiation. Even if the manager is aware of your achievements, laying the data out on paper can help to reinforce these details and present a stronger case that you deserve a wage increase or promotion. As you reflect on your accomplishments, you’ll want to be sure that you frame your contributions accurately, especially if a key project was a more considerable team effort.

Maintain a Positive Attitude During Salary Negotiations

Managers will be much less likely to agree to your requests if you initiate a conversation during your performance review with the wrong attitude. It’s important to approach a salary negotiation with professionalism and self-awareness, as you don’t want to come off as arrogant during your evaluation. If you feel you deserve a promotion or a salary increase, talking honestly about your positive impact on the company is the right approach. Remember that the tone you establish for this conversation impacts the end result. If the value you bring to the organization is there, hiring managers will be able to see it without you overselling yourself.

Identify Areas Where You Can Improve Your Performance

Even if you’re a top performer at your organization, it’s important to be aware of areas where you can improve as a team member. Your employer may consider you to be arrogant if you fail to highlight aspects of your job where you can improve. Managers notice self-awareness, which will also show you’re an employee worth investing in. Take the time to identify aspects of your performance that you think you continue to improve so that you’re ready to discuss them during your evaluation.

Set Realistic Expectations

It’s important to establish a salary range that is realistic before you enter into the negotiation. The company may find it insulting if you offer an outlandish figure that is 60% higher than the average market value. They’ll also be less inclined to work with you to find a compromise. This is why it’s important to research salary data for your position beforehand. If you initiate the conversation with a realistic figure, you’ll have a much better chance of securing a promotion or higher salary. If you find that you’re actually being paid below market value, this is something that you can also leverage during your negotiation.

Highlight the Value You Bring to Your Team

You want to make a case that the value you bring to your team will be difficult to replace if they lose you. While you want to keep negotiations positive and professional, you also need to ensure that your employer understands the unique value that you bring to their company. This can extend beyond listing out key projects, initiatives, and metrics. For instance, you may be able to highlight the positive impact you’ve had on the organization’s work culture or your ability to drive the professional development of team members.

Demonstrate the Value You Can Bring Going Forward

You’ll also want to showcase contributions and value you intend to bring to the organization going forward as you negotiate your salary. Employers covet team members who can bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to the table. Take the time to identify how you can use your unique skill sets to help the organization continue to grow. For instance, you may want to bring up ideas for improving an outdated process or procedure that can save the company time and money in the future. This will help you make a case that giving you a promotion is a win for the company as well.

Provide a Formal Request in Writing

Unless you have a good reason to do so, you should not blindside your boss or company by asking for a raise without notice. Creating a formal proposal in writing will help their side prepare for the negotiation and ensure that the conversation begins on the right note. This will also give your boss ample time to allocate to the discussion without distraction from other responsibilities. Managers will be much more open to salary negotiations that occur in good faith, and providing advance notice is the right way to establish this dynamic prior to the conversation.

Find the Right Time to Ask for a Raise

Before asking for a raise or promotion, you’ll want to consider whether the timing is suitable for salary negotiation. If the company is currently in a state of heavy transition with numerous layoffs, you may want to hold off on asking for a wage increase. Employers are much more likely to approve your salary request if the organization is functioning properly with strong financial health. Keep these things in mind before entering into a negotiation.

Prepare for Salary Negotiations Beforehand

Just as if you were preparing for a job interview, you’ll want to consider practicing your pitch before having this conversation with your employer. One potential option is to consult with a career coach who can provide valuable feedback on your responses. Another might be to record yourself doing your pitch to find areas where you can enhance your delivery. In either case, having your thoughts organized beforehand can help raise your confidence level prior to the salary negotiation and improve your chances of securing your increase.

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Frank Hackett

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)

Frank Hackett is a professional resume writer and career consultant with over eight years of experience. As the lead editor at a boutique career consulting firm, Frank developed an innovative approach to resume writing that empowers job seekers to tell their professional stories. His approach involves creating accomplishment-driven documents that balance keyword optimization with personal branding. Frank is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) with the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches (PAWRCC).