Most employee/manager relationships are contingent on two crucial concepts: transparency and candidness; this sometimes entails having difficult or otherwise awkward conversations pertaining to relevant — albeit tricky — workplace matters.

Perhaps the most infamous of these discussions is centered on a common, yet potentially harrowing question: “can I have a raise?” This topic, while typically warranted from an employee standpoint, can be difficult to broach, and subsequent conversation can be equally tough to navigate if mishandled. Raise-related interactions must be carefully approached — otherwise, they could harm both an employee’s self-esteem and their chemistry with their manager.

That said, here are a few quick tips for how to properly ask for a raise.

Be as Open as Possible

Asking for a raise is uncomfortable — this is human nature. However, it is crucial to not dance around the matter at hand once you have scheduled a raise-related meeting with your manager. Be direct in your assessment of your abilities, your past accomplishments, your benchmarks in terms of personal growth, your future goals, and all other items relevant to a potential pay increase. This approach will paint a clear picture of your corporate identity, making it easier for your manager to reach a final decision.

Leverage a Big Accomplishment

Use your raise inquiry to supplement a recent accomplishment; this can be a great way to justify your request from the start (“I recently achieved ______, which I feel makes me qualified for a pay increase as I now work to achieve _______”). While this strategy is by no means foolproof, it will give you a strong argument that will likely be fresh on your manager’s mind.

Find an Appropriate Time

It may also be wise to time your request with an appropriate meeting or interaction — a performance review or annual evaluation, for instance. This approach will make the request feel more organic, and you may be able to align your reasoning with your company’s financial trajectory, employee development plan, and other relevant focal points that may be referenced during such meetings.


Like any other potentially unnerving oral interaction, a raise increase pitch can be made more approachable with light practice. Sketch out exactly what you want to say, touching on all relevant matters (like those outlined in the first section). Be prepared for several possible outcomes — both good and bad. This way, you will leave the meeting looking professional and composed — regardless of your manager’s decision — and this can lay solid framework for future discussions on the topic.