7 Things to Avoid Saying When Asking for a Raise

In September and October, many of my clients are going into a time of performance reviews and compensation conversations. And if that’s you, then you’re probably thinking about how to best ask for that pay raise…

Am I right?

Now, a lot of my clients worry about what to say and what not to say. But in my experience, what not to say is just as important as what to say.

Once you know what the NO-NO’s are, it will be a lot easier to draft your message and head into that conversation with confidence.

To help you out, here are my top 7 things not to say during a salary conversation and why.

1) “I think I’m underpaid for my experience and education”

This one isn’t an absolute no-no, but never throw it out there without being able to back it up. If you go with this approach, be ready to justify it with specifics on how your education and experience benefit the team and company more than what is already being expected and built into the current salary you receive.

2) “I do most/all of the work around here”

Your focus for asking for a raise should be for your efforts and contributions alone, not how they stack up against the rest of your team. Doing that can make you look too self-centered.

3) “This other person makes more than I do and I don’t see why”

There’s a reason many companies keep employees’ salaries confidential: They don’t want wars breaking out over who is compensated more. In worst cases, it might be to hide some form of inequality or discrimination, but more likely it’s because even people working at the same level have different education and skill levels. There could be a variety of reasons your co-worker might make more than you do, but they’re irrelevant to your raise request. Keep the focus on what you bring to the table, not everyone else.

4) “I can probably get a better salary at another company”

The first thing your boss will think? Well then, why don’t you! This is no time to play hardball if you don’t have a specific offer to counter with. Even if you’ve done your research and are fairly certain someone doing your job at another company makes more than you do, avoid this argument. It makes it sound as if all you care about is your pay and not the work you do, the team, the organization and future opportunities within that company.

5) “The company spends a lot of money on _____, so why is there no money for pay raises?”

No matter how much great work you do, remember that you don’t run the company. Thus, you’re not in charge of making the budget decisions nor do you have the visibility into why decisions were made a certain way. Instead of judging budget or profit allocations, your request focuses on you and your abilities and efforts.

6) “I don’t feel appreciated”

This makes it sound as if you equate the level of appreciation to the number on your paycheck which in turn makes it look as if you get no satisfaction out of your job other than heading to the bank. It doesn’t make a good impression.

7) “I thought I was doing my job well”

“Well” isn’t a very powerful argument when it comes to salary negotiating. Some people think that if they’re fulfilling the duties they were hired to do, they should automatically receive a raise every year. But things often don’t work that way. Your aim should be detailing how you do your job to the best of your ability, how you’ve expanded your scope beyond your original job profile and assignments and are eager to learn more.

If you like this and you want to learn more about how I help leaders be successful in their roles and get ready for that next promotion then schedule a call HERE and let’s chat.

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