5 points to do and 5 points not to do if you are asking for a higher salary

rlxdprogrammer profile image Marcell Lipp Originally published at howtosurviveasaprogrammer.blogspot.com on ・4 min read

It is always difficult to ensure your boss to increase your salary, for some people it means so much stress that they are rather not asking for that at all. I collected some points to do and some points to avoid at asking for a higher salary.

To do:

  1. Find the right time slot

You need to find the best time and place for that. Always be between four eyes with your boss, don’t mention such needs at a party or in front of other colleagues. Only start to talk about that if your boss looks happy and relaxed, make sure that your boss has free time and is not in a hurry. The best strategy is to ask your boss for a feedback session or if you have a regular one mention your needs there. At some companies there’s a yearly feedback meeting, at such companies use that meeting for such reasons. Do not start your discussion with this topic, let your boss finish first all other topics, leave it to the end of your meeting.

  1. Ask for a feedback and use the words of your boss

First figure out what is the opinion of your boss about your work. Don’t tell as reason that you are working well if his opinion is totally different, it won’t work. It is a good strategy to ask your boss to a feedback about your work. Most likely there will be positive and negative points as well. If there are only negative ones than sorry, you have a low chance for a higher salary. First always reflect on the negative ones, ensure your boss that you are trying to change them. After that you can tell something like this: “As you mentioned you satisfied with my work, because …, I’m glad to hear it, because I like to work here as well, I have only one problem, I’m not feeling comfortable with my current salary”. Your boss can not really give a negative answer for this sentence. The only thing how he can regret your request is to tell that “the company has a hard financial situation”, but that’s all. One more thing: ask for a feedback session even if you don’t wanna request for higher salary, because on long-term it is bad if your boss knows after your first question that it is all about your salary.

  1. Mention all the success of your projects

The most important counter for a team manager is the success of the projects in his team, that’s what is making all the benefits for the team. So if your project is running well (meeting the due dates, customer is satisfied etc.) then it is a good point to mention. Don’t mention your projects if they are not running well.

  1. Mention all the extra efforts you did

Mention everything what you did in the previous period over your project work, like: you supported new colleagues, you wrote a good training material for the team, you developed a tool which is helping the daily work, you were representing the team at some events. These are always good points to mention. If you wanna reach a higher salary it is a good idea to do something like this before asking for a higher salary.

  1. Mention all the responsibility you are having

Next to the things what you have really done mention the points you are responsible for: you are taking responsibility over a software component, over functional tests, over a subproject, you are organizing a meeting session, you are responsible for a student at the company: mention it, even if you didn’t need to do anything with that. Do not mention it if something went wrong with the topic in the previous months.

Not to do:

  1. Do no compare yourself to others

It is never a good reason that “I’m working harder than XY”. Maybe you are mentioning the favorite team member of your boss and no one likes if someone is speaking against their favourites. Or if your boss is not satisfied with the one, then he will simply think: “it is not so difficult to be better than that guy”. Always concentrate only on yourself.

  1. Do not mention concurrent companies (or use it only as your last weapon)

I don’t see it as a good idea to tell that at the neighbour company your could have a higher salary, even if it is true. Your boss will think you are not loyal enough and won’t trust you anymore. Mention this point only as your last weapon before resigning.

3.Do not use your personal situation as a reason

Do not mention things like, “I have a big family, it costs a lot” or “I need to pay back my bank credit”. First of all it is your private thing. On the other hand it makes the feeling that you are weak. You are paid after your performance and not after your private situation.

  1. Do not mention your weaknesses

It is good if you know what are your weaknesses, but it is not time to mention them. Here you need to show that you are the best employee ever, even if it’s not true.

  1. Don't be impatient

Most likely your boss won’t give you a direct answer, be always patient, don’t ask it again every day, let him have the time to make the decision!

Do you have any other idea?

All the best:

Relaxed Programmer

Posted on by:

rlxdprogrammer profile

Marcell Lipp


Hi, I'm a software developer with around 5 years experience. Currently I'm mainly focusing on software architecture, technical project leading, programmer soft skills and blogging.


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Do not use your personal situation as a reason

Should be the first point (and in all caps) of the not to do list :)

Do not mention concurrent companies
It is good to know ones value on the market. So I would agree not to say "Company x would give me a y-salary" but "salary y is the average for position a and B years of experience"


This is a great article with fantastic advice. It is too bad that there are so many numbering errors. Most points are numbered 1 instead of incrementing the number on the next point. If you fix this the article will be perfect.


Thank you. I know about that, it got imported from my blog RSS and something went wrong. I tried to fix it, but after saving it was again the same. I will take one more look today.