Asking for a raise can be, well…hair raising. It’s not always easy to work up the courage to do it, and you might find yourself overthinking the whole thing. But fear not! Keep these 13 tips in mind and your next pay raise might come sooner than you think.

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1. Don’t put it off.

There’s a big difference between thinking about asking for a raise and acting on it. Dawdling can make you overthink the whole thing, which can really affect how convincingly you ask for it — or even affect if you ask for it at all! Once you start putting it off, it becomes a whole lot scarier.

2. Arrive prepared.

You need to go into the conversation with confidence, so make sure you’ve prepared everything you need to make a convincing argument. Nothing is worse than showing up unprepared. Not only does it make you more nervous and likely to forget things you wanted to say, but it also demonstrates to your boss that you might not deserve that raise after all. Who wants to reward someone who can’t even ask for a raise properly? Compile a short list of what you want to say and make sure you rehearse the conversation in your head. That way, you’ll walk in knowing that you can say what you need to say.

3. Stick to your main points.

If the main reason you want a raise is based on your performance on one project, stick to that. Bringing in unrelated or unnecessary reasons just weakens your argument.

4. Make an appointment.

Don’t just walk into your boss’s office unannounced and start your speech. Schedule time for it. This makes it more likely that you have his or her full attention and that you have the time to discuss the matter fully.

5. Don’t lie.

It may be tempting to throw in salary figures from other offers, but if those don’t exist, don’t use them. Lying is always traceable, and is likely to come back and ruin your argument.

6. Keep it realistic.

If you think you deserve a raise, that’s great — but don’t expect a 200% increase in salary. Make sure you do your research and ask for something reasonable.

7. Focus on you, and not anyone else.

Getting a raise is only about you and your performance at work. It’s not about how you do a better job than anyone else, so don’t compare yourself to others.

8. Don’t bring up counterarguments.

“But” should not be in your vocabulary during this conversation. Don’t bring yourself down by listing reasons why you would understand if your raise request got denied. Focus only on what you bring to the organization and why you should definitely get rewarded for that work.

9. Keep your emotions in check.

Though asking for a raise can be an emotional thing to do, try to reign it in and keep things professional. It’s best to calmly present your case.

10. Don’t mention the company’s finances.

If your company has had a banner year and you want a bigger piece of the pie, or on the other hand if they’re not doing so well, keep it out of the conversation. That’s for your boss to handle, and not you.

11. Dress appropriately.

You obviously shouldn’t overdo it, but make sure you look extra professional on the day that you plan on asking for your raise. Visual cues can help seal the deal, and your boss might be impressed that you put in a little extra effort.

12. Don’t obsess over it.

Being well prepared is one thing, but don’t spend too much time agonizing over the outcome. That will only make you more nervous.

13. Be willing to compromise.

Maybe your boss is willing to give you a raise on the condition that you meet some specific goals. Don’t be too inflexible. Compromise might be the best way to ensure that all parties are happy with the outcome.

Featured photo credit: Nic McPhee via photopin.com

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