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Wanting to ask for a raise at work and actually knowing how to ask for a raise at work are two very different things. Sure, we all think that we deserve more money for the amount of effort we put into our careers every single day, but convincing your boss of your worth is a tough animal to tackle.

Look, cost of living isn’t going down anytime soon — no matter where you live — so having enough money in the bank to reward yourself for working hard is important. But, before you go into your bosses office and demand that you get more money, or get anxious about an annual review that’s coming up, make sure you know how to ask for a raise; because, these tips should help you actually get one.

Understand your worth

There are loads of websites out there like PayScale and Glassdoor that evaluate median salaries from different cities for a variety of job titles, so utilize these! If someone in your town with the same work responsibilities is making $10,000 more than you, point to that as one example for getting a raise. Additionally, make bullet points of accomplishments you’ve achieved in the past six months, outlining how you’ve helped the company make or save money.

Figure out the perfect raise request

Knowing how to ask for a raise comes down to something very simple: understanding exactly what you want. Yes, we’d all love to get an additional $15,000 every annual review, but that’s not realistic, so breakdown some numbers and see what will actually be worthwhile. Don’t go in with an unrealistic request, or your boss won’t take you seriously and it may cause tension. Know your worth, point to past successes and figure out the perfect number for yourself.

Dress to impress, guys

On the day you plan on talking to your boss about a raise, make sure you look the part and don’t go in all casual. Sure, you may often be seen wearing jeans and a backwards ballcap around the office, but do you really want to present yourself that way when trying to persuade your manager for more money? We hope not, because you’ve got one chance at this per year, presumably, and looking the part will go a long way in the seriousness of the conversation.

Layout your case based off performance

Have you helped the company bring on new clients? Or have you helped cut costs by taking on extra work and eliminating freelancers? Maybe you were part of a team that developed a social media strategy that went viral or saw great engagement. Whatever it is that you’ve done over the past year to help the company, sell yourself and your case for a raise by discussing these with your boss. If he/she hears them and realizes your dedication and hard work for the good of the company, you’re more likely to get that raise you want.

Negotiate

Much like you would prior to getting a job offer, you’re not just going to accept the first salary tossed your way, so make sure you negotiate with your boss to figure out what raise is right. Rather than go in with a specific number in mind, after doing your research, set a negotiable range that you’d be happy with. Generally speaking, if you stay between the $4,000 – $6,500 range, you’re more than likely going to get it, assuming that additional $333 to $541 per month will help you feel rewarded.

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