It’s a myth that you have to wait till appraisal season to ask for more money. Here’s how to go about it.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

It’s a myth that you have to wait till appraisal season to ask for more money. Here’s how to go about it.

If you know exactly what your professional goals are and where you see yourself in your career in the next few years, good for you. Chances are, you’re driven in your role and are actively working towards enhancing the skills required in your chosen field. 

However, putting in the effort to produce consistently good work may not necessarily put you on the path to a pay raise or promotion. That’s why it’s important that you open your mouth and ask—but not before doing the following first. 


Tip 1: Do your research 

When should you ask for more pay? Claire Smart, Head of Human Resources (South East Asia) at Randstad, says there’s no “best” time to talk about it. 

But one thing you can do is keep your eyes and ears peeled and see if your company is doing well or struggling to meet its bottom line. You can do this by attending company town halls and plugging into the grapevine to know whether it’s appropriate to arrange for that talk with your superior. 

Tip 2: Get the right feedback 

So you think you’re kicking butt at work. However, there’s a chance you might be mistaken, as research has shown that we usually aren’t the best judges of our own capabilities. 

For a more objective picture of your work performance, make a lunch date with a colleague who is likely to offer genuine feedback. 

In knowing your limitations, you’ll be able to “fill in the gaps” before asking for a raise, thereby increasing your odds of getting a higher salary. 

Tip 3: Be prepared for new challenges 

If it’s been at least a year since you’ve joined the company, and you think you deserve a pay raise that reflects your current job responsibilities, you should be forthright about it. However, you should also anticipate that your boss may say “no” or set an ambitious goal for you to help them build a case for upper management. 

In any case, putting yourself on your boss’ radar gives you a valuable chance to grow. “No matter the outcome of the negotiation, you would have planted the seed in your manager’s mind, and they will start to take notice of your work and contributions,” says Claire. 

Tip 4: Walk your talk 

So it’s time for the big meeting. Begin by bringing up the new tasks and responsibilities you’ve taken on, then talk about your performance and highlight situations where your contribution has led to significant outcomes. 

Next, discuss your career progression potential and mention new skills you can acquire through training programmes. This not only shows you’re ready to accept new responsibilities, but also demonstrates your commitment to the role and the company. This will build trust, and your boss will be more likely to give you a promotion and pay raise when their expectations are met. 

As an aside, be sure to avoid using resignation as a negotiation tool for more pay. “It’s definitely a bad idea. Not only are you voicing your discontent of the job to your manager, it also shows you are not loyal to the job or company,” Claire cautions.

Your promotion checklist

Don’t ask for a pay raise without doing your homework. Claire shares three tips on how you can get started.

- Document all your contributions in a physical folder, and bring it along to the big meeting. Where possible, strengthen your case with numerical data (“The project led to a 10 percent increase in sales”). 

- Find out where your salary sits compared to the industry’s benchmark so you can build a stronger case. Speak to a recruiter to get the most reliable figures, or use a salary calculator such as Salary Board or Glassdoor. 

- During the meeting, you should talk to your boss about up-skilling yourself so you can deliver more value to the company. Identify those skills beforehand, and plan how you’d approach this topic.