Dos and Don'ts of Asking For a Raise
First, find out your company's policy on salary increases. Are all employees reviewed at the same time each year and are raises given only at that time? Is there a budgeted amount that your department must stay within for each employee and the department as a whole? For the highest chance of successfully getting the raise you want, you have to know the company's policies regarding compensation. If your boss has no authority to exceed the budgeted amount handed down from higher ups, you may have wasted your time and effort.
Know what you're asking for. You don't have to state what it is up front, but you should have a good idea of the amount you'd find acceptable and be able to defend it.
Be aware of your company's financial state. Are they struggling to stay afloat? In a budget crisis? If so, your chances of getting that raise are not good. Not all companies are in a position to raise salaries. However, they may be able to offer you additional benefits instead, such as extra paid leave, tuition assistance, stock options, overtime, etc., or a promotion, if one is warranted.
Don't give ultimatums. This just puts your boss on the defensive, and may put you in the position of either quitting your job or eating crow. Your goal is to convince your boss that you're worth more money because you do an exceptional job and perhaps that you've taken on additional responsibility that warrants a higher salary or promotion.
Timing is everything. Ask your boss for an appointment at a time that is good for him or her. Don't schedule your discussion for a Monday morning or a Friday afternoon, as these are busy times for most people. Don't schedule it during your boss' busiest time of month. Try to pick a time when your boss won't be distracted and pressured by deadlines, if possible.
If, after all this, you don't get the raise you realistically deserve, DON'T respond with sour grapes. Ask your boss what you'd have to do to receive an increase, or a promotion accompanied by a pay adjustment, then renew your efforts to improve your performance. Make sure your boss is aware of what you do and how well you do it, and document your accomplishments in preparation for your next opportunity to discuss salary.
See Page One: What You Must Know Before Asking for a Raise.