Sometimes knowing when to ask for a raise is the most important factor in determining whether or not you get one.

The following is a list of signals that now could be a good time to ask for a raise

  1. You just completed a major project that had a major financial impact on the company - one that can be quantified in terms of new revenue, money saved, etc.

  2. The company is hiring lots of new people (signaling revenue and profit growth).

  3. The company just reported high profits and revenue growth.

  4. Your department head was just promoted or lauded by senior management - she's in a good mood.

  5. You just completed a milestone, an anniversary or other accomplishment that is customarily rewarded with a pay increase in your company.

  6. Your company's stock price is near a high point.

  7. You've recently accepted more responsibility and you're performing well.

  8. You just completed a degree or certification relevant to your position.

  9. You just got a job offer from a competing company.

The following is a list of signals that now is not a good time to ask for a raise

  1. You just turned down an "opportunity" to take on a big project or more responsibility.

  2. Your company just laid off some of the people in your department.

  3. Your company just reported disappointing financial results.

  4. Your company's stock price is relatively low compared to the past.

  5. Your department just missed a deadline on a big project.

  6. The project you've been leading was just canceled.

  7. Your colleagues report that they've not gotten raises either.

The following is a list of events that won't influence whether or not now is a good time to ask for an increase. Proceed with caution (check for the signals above):

  1. You just bought a new car.

  2. You just bought a home.

  3. You just got married.

  4. You just had a baby.

  5. Your wife just had twins.

  6. Your spouse or child is sick with a serious illness.

The best times to ask for a raise are when it will be easy for the company to give you the raise - when sales are growing and profits are up. Combine that with your own recent accomplishments and you're in the cat bird's seat. When the company is struggling, or you've been struggling in your job, are times when it is especially scary to ask for a raise. When your boss is trying to decide whom to let go, is not a good time to ask for more money. There are many life events that make you desperately hope for a raise, but they have nothing to do with whether you deserve one or whether the company can afford one. If your boss is kind and you are a good employee, twins may get you a little raise. A new Camaro? No chance.

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