What Every Woman Should Know Before Asking For A Raise

Ad failed to load

April 4 is Equal Pay Day, the day in 2017 women need to work until to earn as much as their male counterparts earned in 2016. You deserve better, but first there are some things every woman should know before asking for a raise. Since women typically earn about $500,000 less over their lifetime than men, asking for more money might seem like a no brainer. However, not everyone is invested in fairly compensating women for doing the same job as men.

I heard Gloria Steinem speak last year, and she said that when she first began fighting for women's rights she naively thought that if she simply pointed out the inequality to men, things would change. It was a sharp learning curve for Steinem, because as it turns out the system was set up this way intentionally to reward men for taking care of families, and encourage women to stay home.

Women are typically paid 22 percent less than men in almost every field, even when they have the same, or in many cases more, education and experience. While you might know you deserve better, fighting for what you're worth can be intimidating. You're not alone.

Ad failed to load

A recent survey revealed that more than 60 percent of millennial women aren't sure how to ask for a raise. Additionally, 63 percent felt uncomfortable negotiating, 58 percent were afraid of losing their job or offer if they countered, 56 percent didn’t know how much money to ask for, and 51 percent didn’t even know that they should be negotiating. As Sallie Krawcheck, the co-founder and CEO of online investment platform Ellevest, tells Bustle, women need to recognize their accomplishments at work and make sure others know it too in order to guarantee a raise or promotion. "Be excellent, and make sure people know it," Krawcheck says. "The number one mistake women make at work is we think it’s school, so we think if we’re doing a great job, that that’s enough, but you have to make sure people are aware of it."

Here are a few things you should know before asking for a raise:

Ad failed to load

1Research Is Important


Talking about money can be uncomfortable, but if you go into a negotiation unprepared you risk not getting what you want. Before you go into a job interview, or approach your boss for a raise, research median salaries for your job, experience, and responsibilities. Note that median salaries often differ in each state so what you can demand in New York might not be realistic in Ohio. "You need to know how much to ask for," Krawcheck tells Bustle. "Go to Get Raised, and PayScale, depending on what industry you’re in you can look at Hired or Comparably… figure out how much money you’re supposed to be making."

Additionally, ensure you know exactly what your boss is expecting of your role, and figure it out early: "The other thing is, I always advise people to quantify as much as you can. Months before, [ask], 'Hey boss, what does success look like in my job to you? And if you can, what are the numbers around it?'" Krawcheck says.

2Presenting Your Accomplishments Matters


You might be under the impression that your boss is aware of everything you've accomplished, but this is rarely the case. And, even if your boss does know how valuable you are to the team, if they have to make a case for your raise to their boss, they're going to need documentation about why you deserve it. "Say, 'Look, I wanna tell you, I’m really pleased with this, this, this, this, and this this year,'" Krawcheck tells Bustle. "In order to maintain your credibility, it can’t all be positive — [say things like] 'I could have done better on this,' or 'next year, I’m gonna work on such and such because I think I’ve got the opportunity to get better here.' There’s research that shows if you tell people you’re perfect, they will look for your imperfection. But if you actually tell people you’re imperfect, they’ll stop looking."

If you're nervous about promoting yourself and your accomplishments, Krawcheck also has advice for that: "Just do it. The way I did it, because I flush and blush so much — even today — I bought a turtleneck and I practiced it," she says. "If you really cannot bear to do that, [or] if the culture of your company tells you they won’t like that — and that’s true of some companies — then praise other people. 'I was so proud of my team this year for doing X, Y, Z.' What you’re doing is, you’re complimenting yourself, of course, but you’re talking about other people."

3Timing Is Everything


When you ask for a raise matters. Does your company do annual performance reviews? Don't wait until then. Present your case to your boss a few months before the review so they can advocate for your pay increase pre-review. Has your job description changed? If it has, it's perfectly reasonable to ask for more money. "Get him or her in the habit of negotiating with you, so it’s not weird, and you get him or her in the habit of saying yes to you as well when he or she finally says yes to something," Krawcheck says.

Additionally, she notes that if your boss says no to the raise, have a list of other asks prepared that you'll then move forward with. For instance, if you work for a startup, or a company that recently downsized, asking for a raise might not be realistic, but you might be able to negotiate other perks like working from home a few days a week, a extra vacation time. "Have a list of 20 other asks, most of which should turn into money later. If your boss is like, 'No, we don’t have any money in the budget for a raise,' say, 'How about a coding class, or a marketing seminar, or a big symposium that can help you, or an executive MBA, or have a stint in London for three months?' Don’t walk out of there without a yes. If the boss says no to all 20, you’re gonna need to find another job, because you’ve just been given a real message."

Ad failed to load

4A Confident & Positive Attitude Goes A Long Way


Confidence is contagious. If you feel good about yourself, others will feel good about you too. When asking for a raise it's important to present your accomplishments with confidence, and a positive attitude. Think of the conversation with your boss as a collaboration, and envision a positive outcome. If your boss feels good about you, they are more likely to be your advocate.

5Complaining Won't Get You What You Want


No one wants to hear complaints, especially not your boss. I had a boss whose motto was "bring me solutions, not problems." Going into a salary negotiation with a list of complaints is unlikely to get you what you want. While there might be problems that need to be addressed, this is not the time to air those grievances. Instead of presenting problems, give your boss a list of solutions to demonstrate the value you add to the team.

"Get on the same page early. What does success look like for me? What does success [look like] for the department? For the company? The worst thing you can do is just go in blind and ask for a raise. You have to lay the groundwork for it," Krawcheck says. "I promise you if you go in cold and ask for a raise, you might get one, but you’re not gonna get as good of a one as if you laid that groundwork early. It’s preparation and timing."

6You Can Leverage Another Job Offer — But Only Once


Perhaps you're being courted by a competitor who's presenting you with a generous offer. You can leverage that job offer for a raise for your current position. "Never use it as a negotiation tactic if you’re not prepared to leave. It’s gonna be one good enough where you’re ready to make a move... do it very rarely. My rule has been do that once, totally fine, and we’ll have that conversation and discuss what the options are and I’ll try to convince you to stay — do that a second time, I help you pack your bags," Krawcheck explains.

The key, she says, is being prepared to take the other offer if your boss isn't willing to work with you. "If you’re going to do it, make damn sure it’s a job you’ll leave for. Because if the boss says, 'Hey, that sounds like a great offer, you should take it,' you can’t say, 'No, I was just kidding.' You’ve lost all credibility. Be ready to play it through."

Ad failed to load

7Have A Bottom Line


Before going into salary negotiations, know your bottom line. What will you do if your boss says no? Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, you might not get what you ask for. How important is the actual money to you? Consider if you would be willing to negotiate other perks instead, like additional vacation time, or a better title.

If the answer is "no for now," ask your boss what steps you need to take to be eligible for a raise in the future. If you truly love your job, it might be worth re-evaluating the situation in a few months.

Whatever you decide, know (barring any curve balls from your boss) how you will respond to each scenario before you go into the meeting. You can also practice with a friend to help you feel more prepared.

While asking for a raise can be difficult, it does get easier. After all, the goal is progress, not perfection. You've got this — and as Krawcheck says, "just do it."

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

I Wore 'Dad Shoes' For A Week & They Were SO Much Cooler Than I Thought They’d Be

It’s no secret that fashion loves a good polarizing trend. Not too long ago, Birkenstocks made their high fashion runway appearance at Céline and Crocs followed suit on the runways of Christopher Kane and Balenciaga. Now, it’s time for the "ugly" sne…
By Dale Arden Chong

7 Surprising Things That Happened When I Went A Month Without Drinking

If someone asked you if you could take a break from drinking alcohol, would you be able to do it? You may think it’s no big deal to take a month off from drinking, or you may think it’s a *huge* deal, as alcohol seems to be the center of many social …
By Natalia Lusinski

5 Books Under 300 Pages That Are Perfect For St. Patrick's Day Weekend Reading

The grocery stores are stocked with corned beef and cabbage, the local pubs are starting to advertise a particular shade of beer, and in city streets all across America, signs about parade routes have been posted for everyone to see, so you know what…
By Sadie Trombetta

8 Ways Younger Millennials Communicate That Older Millennials Don’t Get

When comparing the ways our parents grew up communicating and the way we all grew up communicating, it seems like their generation and ours grew up in a different world. The technology our parents grew up with was so basic, it's ancient in comparison…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

This Is The ONE Sign That Won’t Be Affected By Mercury Retrograde This Month

It really doesn't seem fair that one astrological sign can ever enjoy the benefit of escaping the wrath of Mercury retrograde — that is, of course, unless that sign is your own — but it happens. Occasionally, the stars just align in the right way for…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

Why My Boyfriend & I Started Couples Counseling 6 Months Into Our Relationship

Right away, Kurt and I agreed on almost everything. We had met through a mutual friend in 2015, but we didn't start dating until we came across each other on Bumble a few years later. That's when we discovered that we were on the same page when it ca…
By Rachel Simon

This Lace-Front Wig Is Going Viral Because No One Believes It's Actually A Wig

To understand how Zendaya easily goes from a pixie cut to voluminous curls or how the Kardashian-Jenners switch hair colors as frequently as they change clothes is to know the power of a good wig. Now that there's a lace-front wig going viral, the Tw…
By Summer Arlexis

This Primer & Mascara Combo Literally Doubles The Length Of My Eyelashes

Even as someone who loves beauty, I was never been particularly passionate about finding the perfect mascara. And then I got lash extensions for the first time. While I enjoy the long, full lashes that lash extensions provide, I always found myself j…
By Olivia Muenter

I Accidentally Fell In Love With My Friend With Benefits & It's Painful

Against my better judgment, I have fallen in love with my friend with benefits. I think I may have fallen in love with him month ago, but being stubborn AF, I fought against those feelings, tooth and nail, and, when it was suggested by a couple close…
By Amanda Chatel

This Viral Post About A Woman Breastfeeding In Public Actually Has A Happy Ending For Once

And today in things that will warm even the coldest of hearts, we have this: A story recently posted to the r/TwoXChromosome subreddit about a dad’s response to his daughter shaming a breastfeeding parent is everything. Posted by Redditor u/starsonwi…
By Lucia Peters

These March Beauty Launches Require Your Immediate Attention

I write one of these beauty editorials every month (feel free to check out January and February 2018 if you're in need of even more products to shower yourself with). Sometimes, I get worried that there won't be enough newness to share — especially b…
By Amanda Richards

Here's How You’re Most Likely To Get Your Heart Broken, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

Getting your heart broken can be one of the most painful experiences you can have in your life. But if you're into astrology, being familiar with your zodiac sign can be pretty helpful. For instance, when you know the ways you're likely to get your h…
By Kristine Fellizar

Finger Piercings Are Trending & The Internet Is Very Divided About Them

A new "accessories" trend is asserting itself on Instagram and it's subversive, non-traditional, and so darn precious. It also looks a tad painful but the end result is worth it. Dermal diamond finger piercings are a thing and they may make actual ri…
By Amy Sciarretto

How I Learned Losing Your Job Isn't The End Of The World

Two and a half years ago, I was taking a day off from my marketing job at a San Francisco tech startup to host a friend when I got a call from the CEO. Apparently, I'd missed a pretty big day: 80 percent of the company, including the whole sales and …
By Suzannah Weiss

Meghan Markle's First Appearance With The Queen Included An Homage To Princess Diana

Fashion pundits love keeping a close eye on what the women of the monarchy are wearing, especially when there's an overlap with Princess Diana's sense of style. We're nothing but nostalgic when it comes to Princess Di and her on-point aesthetic. Find…
By Marlen Komar

Why Arizona's Exit From 'Grey's Anatomy' Is A Huge Blow To The LGBTQ Community

Whenever I re-watch Grey's Anatomy, I don't start with Derek Shepherd waking up in Meredith's apartment after their first hookup. I start with Season 5, when Callie first meets Arizona in a bar. I start here, because I want to watch someone like me f…
By Martha Sorren

I Couldn't Find A Beauty Campaign With Plus Size Models, So I Made One Myself

In the fall of 2015, I visited relatives in my hometown, a small suburb of New Jersey. There isn't much to do there, apart from dining at Applebee's or hitting the mall. As a plus size woman, cruising through a shopping mall is a mixed bag. Certain d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

7 Signs You're The Emotionally Unavailable One In Your Relationship — And How To Work On It

It can be a weird feeling when you realize your relationship isn't working. But it happens — even in a long-term relationship — that, despite spending months or years together, you can realize that something is just missing. Sometimes that thing that…
By Lea Rose Emery

The 21 New Books That Goodreads Users Are Most Excited About This Spring

Despite the fact the Northeast is being pummeled by yet another storm that threatens to trap the region in snow and ice for eternity, winter is finally almost over, and you know what that means. No, I'm not talking about April showers or May flowers …
By Sadie Trombetta

Chelsea Clinton Gets Real About Twitter Trolls & What REALLY Infuriates Her About Trump

Before you read the first word on the first page of Chelsea Clinton's new book, you already know one thing: Strong women have always been a big part of her life. There's her mother, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was the first woman to run for president…
By Erin Delmore

If You’re Addicted To Rewatching ‘The Office,' There’s An Actual Reason For That

A few weeks ago, I tweeted that I was looking for fans of The Office who can't stop, won't stop rewatching the series, and that they should email me if they'd like to contribute to an article about their obsession. By the next morning, I had 32 messa…
By Lia Beck

Pregnant Chinese Women Have Been Eating Pearl Powder For Generations To Give Their Kids Clear Skin

If I were to line up next to my sisters, the difference is immediately noticeable: where my skin is a bit patchy and unmemorable, their skin radiates. Both of their faces have a discrete, poreless glow, and I’m certain you could bounce a kernel of ri…
By Angela Chen

This Is The Most Common Myers-Briggs Type

If you've ever really wanted to get to know yourself, you'll probably want to try out the Myers-Briggs type indicator test. You've probably seen a lot of articles online, and wondered about what the most common Myers-Briggs type is, as there's a lot …
By Kaitlyn Wylde

Halo Brows Take The Unibrow To New Heights — Literally

If there's one thing you can count on Instagram to deliver, it's some of the wackiest makeup trends, especially when it comes to brows. Considering beauty enthusiasts are all too eager to get creative with their arches, it's no wonder halo brows are …
By Summer Arlexis