In an ideal situation, as an employee at , you have a good working relationship with your direct supervisor. You have regular check-ins and 1:1 meetings where you review your progress, challenges, and big wins. All of which makes it mucheasier once you decide it’s time to ask for a raise during an end-of-year-review process.
But, what if you don’t have a 1:1 set with your supervisor? How do you go about asking for the meeting? And how do you set the scene for discussing that crucial raise you’ve set your sights on?
Here’s our advice on how to ask for an annual performance review and raise.
Step one: Accept that it won’t come to you—you have to ask for it
Maybe you’ve been doing everything you can all year to truly kick ass in your job. You’ve taken on extra work. You’ve done so with a smile and a “can-do” attitude. And, not only have you been doing more, you’ve been doing it well.Heck, if someone were to ask you what you do at the company, and you told them, they’d be surprised. That’s when you realize you’ve outgrown your current title at the company and—yes—you’re basically ready for a job promotion and a raise.
But here’s the thing: noneof that happens unless you make the ask. Take it from Girlboss founder Sophia Amoruso, who previously advised readers to keep in mind one of her all-time favorite mantras. “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” “It’s sad but true,” Amoruso wrote to one reader asking advice. “You’re going to have to get used to asking for the things—all the things—you get in this lifetime.”
Got that? OK, moving on.
Step two: Prepare, prepare, and prepare some more
Suffice it to say the ask will be much easier when you’ve got your ducks in a row. “When you’re asking your boss to give you more money for the job you do, you better come prepared to show why you deserve it,” personal finance guru and best-selling author Shindy Chen previously told Girlboss. That means doing your homework on things like:
- Salary research on sites like Glassdoor, Payscale, Indeed, and
- Comparing your title and role to others in similar cities (because cost-of-living makes a difference!)
- Adjusting for whether you’re at a corporate company vs. a startup
- Considering your unique skillset and expertise—and how much it’s worth
Step three: Pick the right moment for your meeting
Again, approaching the end-of-year performance review raise situation is easier when it’s already on everyone’s calendar. But, if it’s on the bottom of your supervisor’s list of to-do’s, be smart about when you make your ask.
Step back and assess what’s going on at the company. Investigate whether policy dictates that the salary/bonus situation be separate from the end-of-year-review. Do they only allocate raises during a particular quarter of the year? Are they separate discussions? Is there a budget shortage? Have there been layoffs recently? Is the company going through an all-hands-on-deck situation?
If so, then don’t be surprised if asking for a raise seems like a trivial matter. When considering when to make your ask, you want to do it during a time when there isn’t an urgent crisis going on. If there is, you’re only making it harder on yourself.
Step four: Understand what your supervisor values most
When you’ve picked your moment, be clear in what your ask will be when setting your meeting. “The element of surprise does not work to your benefit,” Tamara Mellon, co-founder of Jimmy Choo and her namesake shoe brand, Tamara Mellon, previously told Girlboss. “Be conscious of your supervisor’s schedule and high pressure times of day, and set your conversation up to have the time it deserves.” In short: Don’t schedule a meeting during that tiny window of break time your boss has between other meetings.
“Your list of human value is much longer than job deliverables.”
Mellon also advises putting yourself in your supervisor’s shoes so you can best tailor your approach during the conversation. “Companies aren’t human, but managers are,” she said. “Do a mental exercise of what your supervisor values in you. Maybe you’ve stepped into a leadership role with other members of your team, or you’ve become her trusted go-to for projects involving XYZ. Your list of human value is much longer than job deliverables.”
Step five: Show your worth in the optimal manner
Think about how you can best make the case for your salary raise during that end-of-year performance review. Do you need a tidy one-pager with your highlights? Do you need an Excel sheet? A power point presentation? What about recommendations from colleagues or a roundup of positive client feedback?
- Having a list of your contributions from the very beginning (or most recent year)
- Compile four to five projects you owned and excelled at
- Have the numbers to back up your success
- Make note of your workload—has it increased? Is overtime a regular occurrence?
- Bring complimentary feedback to show what value you bring to others
“Finally, outline your dedication to the company,” Jenn McNaughton previously wrote for Girlboss. “Are you taking a lot of meetings, bringing in new clients and business, are you attending events on their behalf?”
Finally, keep a positive attitude throughout
“A can-do attitude” is what helped Bianca Bass, a 23-year-old Latina and writer in the UK, double her salary in a year. “Times have changed,” she wrote for Girlboss. “You don’t get ahead just by doing your job well; you progress by making things happen that are beyond your job description.”
Got that? Now that you’ve crushed it, go remind them why you deserve the big bucks.