Hold Up—Are You Actually *Qualified* to Be Asking for a Raise?

Everything you read tells you to fight for more $$, but the truth is...you might not be there yet.

You know how you sometimes get that itch to text your ex—and if even one friend issues a half-hearted OK, you fire off a (casual) (but not so much) message faster than Usain Bolt can run a mile? Yeah.

Learning from our mistakes: When you read everywhere all the time about how important it is to fight for more money (and it is!), it's just as important to think before you act. Sure, you want a bigger salary, but do you deserve it? Not a fun thing to ponder, but the truth is, you might be jumping the gun.

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"Preparation is critical to having a successful salary negotiation with your boss," says Farnoosh Torabi, financial expert and host of the daily podcast So Money.

Here, she's breaking down how to figure out if now is the time to ask your boss for a bigger, better paycheck—or if you still have a little bit of work to do before you get there.

Step 1: Answer these questions

  1. Have I contributed to the company's bottom line in some measurable way? Like exceeding my sales expectations for the quarter or implementing a plan or strategy that increased revenue or reduced expenses?
  2. Have I gone above and beyond the call of duty and taken on responsibilities that were not in my job description? (Note: working longer hours is not going above and beyond, unless those extra hours translated into results that went above and beyond.)

If you answered something along the lines of "er...no..." to either of the above, then consider these questions your to-do list over the next 1-3 months.

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If you answered "yes" to both questions, then move on to Step 2!

Step 2: Now answer these questions


  1. Have I been recognized by my boss and my higher-ups for the above? Even if just a nice e-mail saying "good job"?
  2. Am I underpaid relative to others in the same field with similar skills and years of experience? (Hint: Sites like GlassDoor.com and PayScale.com can let you know.)

If you answered YES! and HELL YES! again, then Torabi says you're very well-positioned to go in there and fight for a fatter paycheck. Congrats! Get that green.

But...how? What do you say, exactly? We've got you covered. Check back next week for our complete guide to getting a raise, from start to ca-ching.

You should also check out:

Mika Brzezinski's Fool-Proof Tips for Getting a Raise—Even If You're a Pushover

Should You Bother Your Boss: A Flowchart

The 7 Most Common Mistakes Women Make When Looking for a New Job

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