9 Things You Should Never Say When Asking for a Raise

Posted September 26, 2019, by Jenny Sakr

There are three main factors that decide whether you’ll get the pay rise you are after or not: Your boss, your value to the company, and your attitude.

The value factor is something you need to build over time, hopefully reaching a point when the number one factor, your boss, is satisfied with your work and appreciates your contributions.

However, negotiating a raise is a process that mostly comes down to your attitude and approach to this challenging conversation. Here is what you should never say when asking for a higher salary.

“I’ve been working here for a while, so I think it’s time for a raise.”

When asking for a new salary figure, avoid this opening at all costs. The fact that you’ve spent several months or years at a workplace is surely an important factor in asking for a raise, but it can never be the only argument you base this request on.

“I’ve done everything I was supposed to, haven’t I?”

Doing the job you are hired to do isn’t an argument for a raise – it’s simply a reason why you got to keep your job over time. A raise calls for some extra effort that needs to show that you are ready for bigger challenges, and therefore, bigger rewards.

“I could really use some money right now.”

Never negotiate a higher salary by revealing your financial difficulties. This really has nothing to do with whether you deserve a raise or not. Whatever more, it can make your superiors question your decision making, which can make things even less favourable for you.

“I know a coworker who’s paid more for the same work.”

Feel like you’re being underpaid? This might cause you to ask some questions and do some investigating around the workplace. So even if you know for a fact how much some of the other employees make, never reveal that in front of your bosses. Salary figures are extremely confidential, so you should never bring them up as a reason why you should get a bonus in the future.

“You need me more than I need you.”

If you’re a valuable contributor your company relies on, there’s certainly no need to phrase this fact in such a blunt, inelegant way. Politely remind your boss of everything you’ve done for the company, and let them know you’re always ready to go above and beyond to ensure the success of your organisation. Hey, this might even bag you a promotion!

“If you don’t appreciate my work, I’ll take it elsewhere.”

If you intend to play this card, be extremely careful about it. Make sure to stay respectful and polite, and have a backup plan just in case. Otherwise, what are you going to do if there’s no offer waiting for you, and your boss calls your bluff?

“This is my final offer.”

A conversation about a raise should be a negotiation, not an ultimatum. Be prepared to stay open for different options and possibilities. Perhaps you won’t be able to get exactly what you want, but maybe you can manage to get quite close. It’s a great start.

“I’m sorry to bring this up, but maybe it’s time for this talk.”

If you don’t feel confident about your contributions, how can your boss appreciate your worth? Be respectful, but never uncomfortable when it comes to asking a raise. Stating the reasons why you believe your work deserves to be rewarded will help you feel more confident while helping your boss understand your position better.

“If you don’t give me a raise, you don’t appreciate me enough.”

“It’s not fair” attitude won’t get you far. When asking for a new salary, remember to stay professional and preserve your image in the company.  


The process of negotiating a salary is never straightforward and stress-free, whether you need to establish a figure for a new job or a raise for the position you’ve been holding for a while. It requires confidence, the right attitude, and having reasonable arguments for asking what you’re about to ask.

Knowing how to approach your bosses is crucial. Making any of the above-mentioned mistakes can cost you the desired salary, and even your job. Make sure to be well prepared in terms of what you’re going to say and how you will say it, and your chances will become a whole lot better.

This article was written for Career FAQs by Laura Buckler. Laura is a seasoned essay writing services reviews‌ contributor passionate about sharing her knowledge on topics concerning career launch and development. She studied business management, which helped her cultivate a strong entrepreneurial mindset. In her free time, she likes to hike, read, and spend time in nature with her family.

Jenny Sakr
Jenny Sakr

Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.

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