5 Things to Say to Your Boss to Get a Promotion or Raise

by Lauren Treadwell on 27 August 2014 0 comments

The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and that goes double when it comes to asking for a promotion or a raise.

A 2014 study performed by management consulting firm Accenture found that nearly 80% of employees who ask for a raise, and 70% of employees who ask for a promotion, get one. (See also: 12 Ways to finally Get That Promotion This Year)

But even with such high success rates, the study found that half of the people polled never bring up the subject of a promotion or a raise to their superiors, potentially robbing themselves of advancement. Getting ahead and earning more can be as easy as asking for it, as long as you know what to say. So go ahead and try one of the following angles.

1. "I'm Good for the Company."

Remind higher-ups of your value whenever the opportunity arises, such as during performance reviews, meetings, and other business-related conversations with management. You don't want to bring up every little thing you do, but you should definitely mention those specific times when you exceeded a customer's expectations, outdid yourself on a special project, or had an especially positive impact on the bottom line. Make sure you have hard numbers or other evidence to back up your claims, or it may just come across as empty bragging.

2. "I Have a Unique Skill Set."

One of the best ways to set yourself up for a promotion or raise is to let management know about the distinctive knowledge, skills, and experience you bring to the table. Think about the things you do or know that go above and beyond what is necessary for your current position. Even better, demonstrate how those skills have helped you overcome issues or otherwise perform your job. Of course, the absolute best way to go about it is to let your boss know how you can use your one-of-a-kind knowledge to address a current or recurring problem.

3. "What He Said."

How do upper leadership, top performers, and key influencers interact and engage upper management and each other? Observing these interactions during meetings as well as in the break room can tell you a lot about the communication styles and behaviors adopted by leaders in your company. To learn even more, engage these key people in conversation by making a positive comment about how they handled a recent project and asking specific questions, such as how they dealt with a prominent issue or managed to come in under budget despite the high demands of a client.

4. "I Understand the Inner Workings."

Showing that you know the little nuances that keep the business running smoothly tells your supervisors that you understand not just the nature of your position, but the interconnected network of other employees and departments as well. Use the intel you gather from all that bigwig shoulder rubbing to enhance your knowledge and demonstrate your grasp of things that exceed your job description, especially the details of any specific positions you're gunning for. Peruse trade publications and professional association newsletters and attend industry-related functions to stay up-to-date on the bigger picture, as well.

5. "People Like Me."

You may be the absolute best person for the job, but your chances of snagging a raise or promotion can be affected negatively if you don't have a good rapport with coworkers and supervisors. A 2010 study to determine the effect friendliness has on performance evaluations found that participants gave more favorable reviews to people who displayed better interpersonal skills than those who appeared less amiable, even when the good-natured subject performed worse on tasks. The leader of the project, Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, summarized the gist of his findings in a 2013 interview: "Life is really about relationships and your success in getting promoted and getting raises and getting hired, depends on the quality of the network and relationships you were able to build with a large number of other people inside your company and for that matter, outside your company."

What have you said to help you get that promotion or raise? Please share in comments!

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