Knowing Your Worth

How to negotiate a raise like a boss

Everybody wants a raise—who would say no to more money? However, approaching your supervisor and asking them for more financial compensation is not for the faint of heart. We spoke to Kayla Buell, author of Corporate Survival Guide for Your Twenties, about how to be your most successful self along with your unique career path.


We live in the digital age, so put the internet to good use. There are plenty of online resources for researching your salary range. Buell recommends perusing sites like, PayScale, and Glassdoor to gain insight into the typical salary ranges for your specific job. Buell does note that these figures are approximations. Salaries can vary based on geographic factors, experience, the size of a company, and whether or not the company is a nonprofit, or a start-up.


If you’re planning on asking for a raise, it’s important to know your value. Buell says, “your experience is the key to evaluating your worth.” You don’t gain job experience overnight, so you have to earn your worth over time. “Once you’ve held a position and you’ve been able to demonstrate your ability to provide results in your role, then those results are tools that can be used to evaluate your worth,” Buell explains. Make a note of your personal experiences in your career. Have you had any impressive accomplishments? Have you increased sales or profit or taken any successful initiatives in your current position? Simply put, the more you’ve accomplished, the more you’re worth.

Your experience is the key to evaluating your worth


After evaluating your worth, if you don’t feel worthy of that raise you’ve been eyeing, work on improving yourself. Remember—worth is earned over time, so put in the hard work now. Aim to be the best you can be in your position. Stay up-to-date on industry news, so you’re one step ahead of the game and work on improving your skill set by learning to do your job more efficiently. Buell points out that it’s important to be a team player. “You can be the best at your job, but if you don’t work well with others, that won’t prove to be a valuable dynamic for your employer,” Buell says. Buell also recommends diversifying your skill set, since workplaces and industries are constantly evolving. The more tools you have in your toolbelt, the more of an asset you are to your company.


Be prepared. If you’re asking your boss for a raise, go in with a game plan. Buell emphasizes “bringing tangible results you’ve been able to produce since you last negotiated a raise.” The more you can prove your worth, the easier it will be to communicate that you deserve a raise. Buell reiterates, “You only deserve a raise if you’ve truly earned it, based on nothing other than your performance in your role.” Buell also suggests asking for other benefits if a raise is off the table. Money is not the only thing your job has to offer. If you want more flexibility in your schedule, ask for it. This is the time to discuss what you’d like to gain from your job.

Buell also advises against comparing yourself to your colleagues. It’s human nature to do so, but it isn’t helpful when negotiating a raise. Use any frustration you may have as motivation instead. If you’re working hard, your employer will notice. Don’t forget; the cream always rises to the top.

Above all, stay true to yourself and stay humble. Negotiating a raise can be daunting, and while you do want to communicate effectively, you don’t want to come across as braggadocious or an ungrateful know-it-all. Buell stresses that it’s important to be your genuine self and not be afraid to let your personality shine. “Too often, we feel like we have to put up a front at work and as a result, we walk around behaving like robots . . . How you contribute to a company’s culture is just as important as the job you’re getting paid to do,” reminds Buell. In close, do what your mom says and just be yourself.


Research what’s an appropriate salary range for your position

Continue to improve and work on being the best you can be

Be prepared and have a plan for negotiating

Be yourself and let your personality show

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