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Don't Ask for a Raise If You Fall Into 1 of These 3 Categories

As with everything else in life, when you're requesting a raise, timing is everything.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Whether I'm with friends, family or co-workers, the topics of fair compensation and raises come up at least a week. Understanding when it’s an appropriate time to ask for a raise is something typically understood only once you've been at a company for a while or grown in your career. In fact, it’s more of an art than a science.


Related: The Do's and Don'ts of Asking for a Raise

And, what I've increasingly come to understand is that many new employees don’t get that this request is an art -- in other words, they don't know that just as with anything else in life, when you ask for a raise, timing is everything.

Below I’ve outlined three circumstances that should give you pause about the timing of asking for a raise:

1.You’ve been out of school for less than a year.

I’m shocked by how often I’m asked about compensation for employees who are still a liability for the company they work for; and that applies to anyone who graduated from college less than a year ago. In the past year, I’ve had four different employees who had been out of college for mere months ask for a raise. At that point, these young people should be doing all they can to prove themselves and ensure that the fact that they have no experience isn’t held against them.

If this describes your place in the career world, you also should be careful about asking for a raise when you’ve been at a company less than a year, even if you're more experienced. There are exceptions to this, but your focus should be on doing your job and doing it well, especially in the beginning.

2.Your job hasn’t changed at all.

Another misconception I battle constantly is that employees often think a raise is a given if they do their job well.  I often have to remind them that that is why they get a paycheck. If you’ve done your job and done it well, figure out a way to quantify how your job has changed since you were hired.

One way to do this is to take your original job description and rewrite it to reflect what you’re doing now. If there are significant changes, you can focus on that during your conversation with your superior.

Related: How to Ask for a Raise -- and Get It

3.You haven’t made your company any more money.

I have never had a problem making a case for a salary increase when I’ve made the company I work for more money. In some industries, making the company more money could mean different things, but if you’ve improved the business in a quantifiable way, it’s a great time to ask for a raise.

Just be careful that when you talk about how you’ve helped make the company money, you don't make it seem as though you’ve done it on your own. You want to be seen as a team player, and you want to make it clear that your efforts weren’t done solely to get a raise.

Related: How Remote Workers Can Ask for That Raise, and Broach Other Touchy Subjects

At the end of the day, it’s important to focus on the facts, not your feelings, when you ask for a raise. Finding the right time to approach the conversation can lead to a much better outcome, so make sure you think through your timing options to get the biggest raise possible.

Brittany Larsen

Written By

Brittany Larsen started her career as director of communications for a prominent congressman in Washington, DC. and was then recruited to be director of communications for the Governor of Florida. She now leads the client service team at Arena Online, a politically-focused digital marketing firm.