How to Negotiate an Executive Pay Raise

Understanding salary negotiation and how to ask for a raise is a professional skill that everyone can benefit from mastering. When asking for a raise, there are many salary negotiation tips and tactics that you can follow to increase the odds of landing the increase you want.

Asking for a raise can be an intimidating endeavor. Here are some salary negotiation tips from our team at Chameleon Resumes:

How to Get a Raise

Prove Yourself

Employees often ask for a raise but haven't proven their value to the firm. View your potential raise as an investment made by the organization, and that company is looking to see what will be their return on the investment made in you. Place yourself in visible positions and promote yourself to ensure the decision-makers understand your value.

Volunteer for Critical Projects

One way to gain visibility is to offer your talents, time, and abilities to challenging projects viable for the firm's success. This way, you will work alongside crucial company players who can vouch for your work ethic and commitment to bringing results.

Record and Track Your Achievements

Do not assume your boss knows what you have accomplished. Keep a log of your successes and wins, no matter how big or small. This compensation strategy will allow you to make a significant case demonstrating your value to the company, justifying the firm's investment in you through a pay raise.

Leverage Recent Successes

Have you just completed a project that went well? Diplomatically brag about your and your team's success to your boss and other critical decision-makers. If you don't promote yourself, no one will.

Research Your Worth

Using websites like and other industry-specific entities, acquire information about your profession and see if you are above, below, or at the market rate for your skill and experience. If you are at or below what the market is paying and have significant successes, this could form a strong case for you, warranting a raise based on your credentials and achievements.

Connect Your Compensation Strategy to Performance and Success

Offer to lead a project and put your money where your mouth is—outline the parameters for success and propose to tie a bonus or raise to meet these parameters. If your project is to streamline expenses or increase revenue, then presenting that you receive a piece of that financial success pays for itself.

Consider Other Options Aside From Money

If money is tight, regardless of your performance, consider other forms of compensation to be flexible with your employer while allowing them to reward your contributions.

Would You Give Yourself a Raise?

Be the person you would want to receive a raise. It is that simple. Do you make your boss's job easier? Do you make your boss look good? Would they be excited to lobby for you to their managers to obtain their approval to give you a raise? Do you make it worth the risk for them to stand up for you?

Put Yourself in the Top Five Percent

If you are a Top 5% performer in your organization, then categorically solving how to get a pay raise is much easier. However, if you did not receive the salary raise you were looking for this past year, ask yourself these last two questions.

Invest in Your Development

When was the last time you furthered your professional education? Attended an industry event? Companies want to invest in people who invest in themselves—again, demonstrating an ROI on monies the firm gives you in the form of a salary raise.

Timing Is Everything

The decisions for issuing raises are often completed well before review time or the fiscal year's beginnings. Ask for a raise the quarter or two before the employer customarily disperses raises to put yourself on the radar. Bad times to ask are when the company broadcasts poor finances or when the company announces raises. By then, it is too late.

Ask Your Boss What You Can Do Differently

Did you not get the raise you hoped for? Let your boss be candid about what you could do to improve your chances of landing a raise next year. Solicit specific feedback on projects you can handle and your performance up to that point. Do not be defensive when receiving this information. It will help you improve to land a higher salary bracket next year.

Maintain a Realistic Outlook With Gratitude

No one wants to give a raise to someone asking for a 65% raise or feels entitled to a raise. Those types of employees will never be happy, so companies do not invest their precious dollars in these people—don't be one of these people. 

Stick to a 5-10% range and have your documentation ready. Whether you get what you want or not, be gracious, thank the employer for their time and consideration and be grateful for what you have. Set your plans to make the following year the best.

How Not to Get a Pay Raise

Are you wondering how to get a pay raise? The best compensation strategy is part art and science. While many compensation strategies can help you receive above-average pay, in our time in recruiting and management, Chameleon Resumes has seen numerous things that employees shouldn't do when asking for more money.

Citing Hard Work With No Backup Evidence

Don't expect your boss or executive management to keep tabs on what you have done for them. Working hard allows you to keep your job and return the next day—not get a raise. The results and achievements you accomplish could put you in a position to get a raise. Brag about what you do, and let them see your value.

Asking for a Raise Unprepared With No Data

Before you ask for a raise, show that you have researched salary sites and investigated to see if you are paid below, at, or above market value for your expertise and skills. If you expect your employer to research to give you what you deserve, you might as well stay home and not ask.

Preach About Fairness and Speak of Others' Salaries

Don't demand a raise since you heard another employee received one or makes more than you. That can often put you on the "Don't give him a raise" list. I tell my kids, life isn't fair; what side do you want to be on? And then do all of the right things to be on that side to get the raise you want.

Asking Without Confidence

Nothing is more unattractive than a lack of confidence. Employers want to know they are giving their money to the 'A' players within the organization. If you start your request with, "I was hoping to chat with you about something when you are not too busy…," I say pack up and go home. Make an appointment with your manager outlining what you would like to discuss, and be confident and prepared. Compensation strategy when asking for a raise is about a business discussion like any other. Treat it as such.

Outlining Why You Deserve a Raise

No one cares that your daughter needs braces, your son is going to college, or your spouse lost their job. Everyone is experiencing a higher cost of living—including your employer. Your employer is not entitled to give you the funds you need for your budget shortfalls. However, if you prove your worth and continually achieve, you may receive a raise recognizing your merits that your employer would be happy to give you.

Threaten to Quit

Threatening to leave a position if you don't receive a raise is never adequate, even if you are ready to go that minute. Any time you buy or raise you to receive will be temporary while your employer looks for your replacement. No one wants to be held hostage.

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About Lisa

Lisa Rangel and The Chameleon Team are the only executive resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and job landing consultancy who has been hired by LinkedIn and recognized by Forbes. Our 4-Stage META Job Landing System stems from decades of corporate and executive recruiting experience to position you to land your next 6 or 7-figure role faster.


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