The Military Guide On How to Ask for a Raise

Asking for a raise is an issue that creates tension for many people. And if you’re in the military or are a military spouse, you probably haven’t had to ask for raise before in your career.

But now you’ve taken on more responsibilities for the same pay or you’ve been in the military or other occupation for a certain amount of time, and the day has come for you to approach your boss or supervisor with a respectful inquiry regarding your salary.

How should you go about this? Here are tips on how to ask for a raise.

How to ask for a raise

Here are tips to ask for a raise.

Find out what others in your position earn

Before you march into your supervisor’s office, take the time to find out what your coworkers and others in positions similar to yours are making. It’s easy to use tools such as or look at salary surveys with other military branches. Compile data detailing median salaries of positions whose work is similar to the work you currently do. This will provide concrete evidence to your supervisor that you are not earning as much as you should.

Figure out an amount and do your research

According to The Billfold, you should really do your research before asking your boss for a raise. Look at what you’ve done for the company over the past year(s) and have all of that in hard copy to present to your boss. Also include goals you aim to meet with the military or company in the near future. If you show the person you report to that you have helped the company make positive strides, he or she will be able to point to the reason you should receive a raise.

Although the number doesn’t have to be exactly specific, come up with a range for your proposed raise. Reader’s Digest suggests, “Based on your industry research, your responsibilities and your accomplishments, determine the salary you feel you deserve in advance of a meeting with your boss.” This way, your supervisor won’t feel pressured to come up with a number on the spot, and the number you propose may be larger than what your boss would have offered. But since you suggested it, you have a greater chance of getting it.

Know when to ask

Do not ask for a raise if you have only been in your position a few months. According to U.S. News & World Report, ask for a raise after you’ve been in your position long enough to have a track record of accomplishment. If you were recently asked to take on more responsibilities or you’ve been in your position for about a year, you should begin thinking about asking for a raise. Also be sure to research your company’s current financial situation, as you do not want to ask for a raise during tough financial times, although this is not as applicable if you’re in the military.

Make an appointment and ask in person

Asking for a raise is a serious request, so show your supervisor you take it seriously. Do not bring it up during a casual lunch conversation, but instead make an appointment and let your boss know what it is you plan to discuss, so he or she is not blindsided. Your boss might want to do some research on his or her end or meet with Human Resources, so tell him or her in advance as a courtesy. When the time comes, always discuss your salary in person, as human interaction will help your cause.

Sell yourself and be ready to negotiate

When talking to your boss, you might have to negotiate and you might not. Either way, be prepared to sell yourself as best you can. This doesn’t mean talk about yourself for 30 minutes in a gloating manner, but you should be able to point to your accomplishments and tell your supervisor what he or she already knows: why you deserve a raise.

“You can also try pretending that you’re your own manager and ask what about your performance would really impress you, or what your manager should be upset to lose if you left,” said U.S. News & World Report. Even though you might be tempted to explain personal financial reasons for needing a raise, avoid this impulse and stick to the job facts. If you’ve excelled in your position, you deserve the raise.

Have a back-up plan

If your boss says “no,” determine why that is. Were you turned down because of performance? If so, is that reason valid and what can you do to fix that? Were you turned down because of the company’s financial situation? If so, can you set a later date with your boss to revisit the topic? Were you turned down unfairly? If so, can you start searching for other positions within the military or other jobs? Before you meet with your supervisor, have a back-up plan for each scenario so you aren’t caught off guard and can still work toward getting a raise.

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