Asking for a raise in your career can be a difficult topic to navigate, and it’s one that many simply avoid. According to a study by Payscale, only 43 percent out of over 30,000 surveyed employees asked for a raise, while the other 57 percent never did because they either received a raise without asking or didn’t feel comfortable or confident enough to request a higher salary.

“Verbal affirmation is one thing, but compensation is also incredibly important for validation,” says one ForceBrands Executive Recruiter.

Some work environments are built to reward their employees over time and have salary increase processes in place. However, if you are employed by a company that doesn’t offer these incremental pay raises, being uncomfortable with talking about your compensation shouldn’t stop you from asserting your worth within the company.

We caught up with Force Executive Recruiters to learn more about how to approach the topic of asking for more money at work. Read on to learn the essential tips on how to prepare yourself for asking for a raise.

Do your research and analysis
When it comes to compensation, it’s important to be aware and knowledgeable of what the standards look like in the industry. In order to better understand fair market compensation, you can browse similar positions on Glassdoor or download ForceBrands’ Talent Market Report. You should thoroughly understand what the salary highs and lows of the position are and also be able to add the costs of living in your area into the equation.

You also need to pay attention to what your competition is throughout the company and how they measure up in similar roles.

“Be realistic with yourself about how you compare to either a colleague or someone else who has a similar title to you. How many years of experience do they have? What does their background look like?”

You should also consider your company’s current financial standing. For example, if you are working for a newly launched startup, you should understand their 3-5-year growth plan.

According to Business News Daily, standard pay increases range from 3 percent (average) to 6 percent (exceptional). If, after doing all the research, you still feel unsure about the numbers, Payscale offers a helpful tool to assist you in determining how much you should be paid in your current role.

Build a trusting relationship
The easiest way to feel comfortable when asking for a raise is to form a trusting and transparent relationship with your manager early on, from the initial stages of the onboarding process. ForceBrands’ recruiters agree that a good relationship with your manager can make the most important discussions less stressful and that scheduling regular reviews can help forge that connection. Rose suggests that ideally, you should meet with your manager weekly.

Timing is everything
You shouldn’t ask for a raise too soon after starting a new role but you also shouldn’t wait too long, especially if it doesn’t happen automatically or on an annual basis. Our recruiters offer a range from 6-18 months when it comes to determining a good timeframe to ask for a raise. According to Payscale, the best times to ask for a raise are when you take on an important assignment, add new responsibilities to your role, have recently wrapped up a major project successfully, or you’re a few months from your annual review.

Lead with your contributions
According to our recruiters, leading with some hard numbers will make it easier to put together a valid case for a raise. Sinanyan says that you should be able to lead with your contributions to the company to help prove why your worth should increase. Sinanyan also provided an example of a direct and focused argument in favor of your raise: “I come in early, I leave late, I do X, Y, and Z throughout my day, I have projected X, Y, and Z in sales, and I have projected X, Y, and Z in performance for the company.” This way, you are listing your accomplishments, addressing how long you have been with the company, and how much you have contributed to the growth since you’ve been hired. Ideally, the more value you’ve added, the more you should be worth.

Don’t get discouraged
While you are likely to receive a raise if you have been consistent in your work and contributing to the growth of the company, raise requests sometimes get denied. It helps to have a transparent relationship with your manager; have an honest conversation and an open dialogue about why your raise was denied and what steps you can take to make it happen in the future. Listen and be respectful of the decision. At the same time, if your company can’t afford to give you a raise, you can try asking for other benefits: more vacation days, flexible hours, or an opportunity to work remotely.

Want an Executive Recruiter to walk you through all the steps of negotiating your salary or preparing you for an interview? Connect with one of ForceBrands’ Executive Recruiters here.

ForceBrands offers end-to-end hiring solutions for all stages of growth. Whether you’re just starting to hire or are looking for the next step in your career, we’re here to help you be a positive Force that makes an impact.