How to Ask for a Raise in an Entry-Level Role [5 Essential Tips]

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It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in your role for two weeks or two years; asking for a raise is always a daunting task. And if you’re in an entry-level role, it can feel downright impossible. It’s so challenging that nearly 71% of workers don’t even attempt to negotiate their salaries.

Some even swear off negotiating altogether, thinking that it’s better to just ride out the initial low salary and hope for a cost-of-living or annual raise.

But what if there were a way to ask for a raise without being perceived as pushy or greedy? After all, the employer did hire you in spite of your low salary demands, and it’s only fair that they reward your hard work with a salary increase.

Well, it turns out there are several ways to approach this scenario. This article will walk you through some of the best strategies and tips for successfully asking for a raise in an entry-level role.

Why Asking For A Raise In An Entry-Level Role Is Different Than Normal

One of the biggest challenges when asking for a raise in an entry-level role is that you don’t have as much leverage as someone with more experience or seniority. In many organizations, employees are evaluated and compensated based on performance and merit – so if you’re just starting out, this presents a unique challenge. 

Other reasons include:

  • Unlike more experienced workers, who can offer their skills and experience as bargaining chips, entry-level workers cannot do the same. The best you can hope for is that your employer recognizes the value and hard work that you bring to your role and decides to reward you accordingly.
  • Most entry-level roles have a predetermined salary range that the employer is unwilling to budge on. So even if you are performing above and beyond expectations, there may be only so much room for negotiation.
  • Finally, it can be difficult to make a case for a raise when you’re still in the probationary period of your employment. Many employers use this time to “trial” new employees and see if they are a good fit for the organization. As such, they may be hesitant to commit to a salary increase so early on.

How Much Should I Ask For The First Raise At Work?

Although it may seem like an uphill battle, the truth is that it is possible to successfully ask for a raise in an entry-level role – you just have to go about it the right way.

So how much should you ask for your first raise? one might ask! According to a recent study, the average entry-level salary increase is around 5% for those who successfully negotiate their raise. However, this will vary depending on your employer and the overall demands of your job.

To determine how much you should ask for, first consider what factors influence your performance. For example, if you’ve recently taken on additional responsibilities or have been working long hours, this may warrant a higher salary increase.

You should also research the going rate for your position and compare it to your current salary. This will give you a better idea of how much room there is for negotiation and what an appropriate salary increase would be.

Keep in mind that although 5% is the average increase, it doesn’t mean that this is the right amount for you. Ultimately, your salary should be based on what you bring to the table and what value your employer sees in keeping you on staff.

See: How Much Is Too Much to Ask for a Raise?

When Should I Ask For A Raise For An Entry-Level Role?

When it comes to asking for a raise, timing is everything. You should wait until you’ve been with the company for at least 6 months before requesting a salary increase. This will give you time to prove your worth and value to the organization. 

A recent survey suggested that the best time to ask for a raise is at the 6-12 month mark after starting a new job. This gives you enough time to settle into your role and show your employer what you can do. It also shows that you’re committed to the company and are looking to stay long-term.

It’s also important to wait until you’ve received positive feedback from your boss before asking for a raise. This feedback will serve as validation for your request and will make it more difficult for your employer to say no. 

Other reasons it’s the right time to ask for a raise include: 

  • Increased responsibility or duties 
  • Strong performance metrics and feedback from your manager
  • Long hours or dedication to the job
  • Promotions or other forms of recognition
  • Just finished an important project or accomplishment

In short, if you feel that you have earned a raise, don’t be afraid to ask – but do your research and prepare accordingly beforehand. 

In a nutshell, the key to successfully asking for a raise as an entry-level worker is to wait until you feel comfortable making the request and have a strong case for why you deserve a salary increase.

How to ask for a raise in an entry-level role 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to asking for a raise. The best way to ask varies depending on your employer, your relationship with your boss, and the amount of money you’re asking for.  

While this is easier said than done, statistics show that only 37% of entry-level employees who ask for their salary increment actually receive it. So, which is the best way to ask for a raise in an entry-level role and actually come out victorious?

Even before you start crafting your pay raise pitch, you need to be prepared. Make sure you have enough knowledge about your own value, your company’s budget, and other employees’ salaries to make a convincing case.

1. Get Your Timing Right

As stated above, timing is everything with a raise. You don’t want to ask for a raise when the company is struggling or when your boss has just lost a major contract. Research shows almost 90% of all employers in America are likely to consider your request if the company is doing well or you’re about to achieve a major milestone. 

Don’t bump into your boss asking for a pay raise out of the blue, but try to find an opportune moment, such as in your annual review. Or better yet, schedule a meeting with them to discuss the topic in advance.

2. Arm Yourself with Numbers and Facts

This doesn’t mean fabricating false information but finding genuine reasons why you believe you deserve a salary increase. Whether it’s because of hard work, extra responsibilities, or improved performance, make sure you have data to back up your case.

Self-evaluate yourself first, then go to your boss. Have a knowledge of what you bring to the table and showcase that in this discussion. If possible, prepare detailed records of both your past and present accomplishments to help illustrate your point. 

3. Consider Your Worth To The Company In The Future

Yes, you are asking for a raise because you have shown exceptional performance in your current role. But do you have a future in the company? What other skills or traits do you possess that would make you an asset to the company?

For example: if you used to do “Data Analysis” for a football team, analyzing how each player performs every weekend. Will you still be of any value next year when the company buys modern software to do the same? How unique is your skillset compared to others willing to do the same at a lower pay? And if not, are you willing to consider other opportunities within the company?

This is where you have to think long term. How can you position yourself not just as a valuable employee in your current role but also in future roles? This will show that you aren’t just looking for a quick pay bump but are genuinely invested in the company.

4. Know How Much to Ask For

Do your research on what the average salary is in your area and for your position. An excellent way to do this is by using sites like Glassdoor and PayScale. This will give you a better idea of what you should be earning and help ensure you’re not asking for too much or too little.

When asking for a raise, it’s always best to come up with a range rather than a specific number.

This gives you some flexibility and allows your employer to negotiate within that range. For example, if you’re looking for a $5,000 raise, you might ask for $5K-$8K. As a study by Harvard business review suggests, people who use this technique are 20% more likely to get the raise they want.

5. Don’t Make It All About The Money

When you go into your meeting,  avoid making it seem like the only thing on your mind is money. Of course, you want a raise, but that shouldn’t be your sole focus. Instead, try to focus on how you can help the company move forward and how your contributions have helped the company grow in the past. 

If you can do this, your boss is more likely to be receptive to your request. And even if they can’t offer you a raise immediately, they may consider other benefits or bonuses that could help compensate for the salary increase you’re after.

These are just a few things you should consider before going into a meeting to ask for a raise in an entry-level role. 

See: How Not to Ask for a Raise [Never Do These 9 Things]

It’s Difficult But You Can Do It!

Asking for a raise in an entry-level role can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it’s also one of the most important steps you can take to advance your career. By taking the time to prepare and do your research, you will stand a much better chance of success. 

By following the above tips on how to ask for a raise in an entry-level role, you can approach your boss with confidence and increase your chances of getting the raise you deserve.