Asking for a raise can do wonders for your career, above and beyond the actual money.

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Did you know that more than half of U.S. workers never ask for a raise? It’s true. Maybe their mothers told them that “good things come to those who wait.” Maybe they’re shy. Or maybe they have jobs where raises arrive as if by magic.

Or maybe not.

Asking for a raise can do wonders for your career, above and beyond the actual money. After all, you are showing that you respect yourself enough to seek better pay, and this can lead to your boss respecting you more, too.

In any case, salary negotiation is a useful skill to acquire. Here are a few pointers.

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Before you say one word to the upper-ups about a possible increase in salary, be sure you know your worth. Research industry pay standards so that you can show how yours measures up, or doesn’t.

Next, put together a comprehensive list of your achievements, expressing them as much as you can in terms of dollars and cents. Did the reorganization that you suggested and implemented end up saving the company a bundle of dough? Your boss may need to be reminded of this. Can you gather together some customer testimonials? Their words carry far greater power than yours ever can.

Being able to demonstrate your past value is pretty good ammunition. But that was then — what about now? Find out, if you can, what challenges your boss or your company is set to face in the near future. And then come up with some suggestions of how you could help with these challenges.

Now you’re ready to approach the boss. Pick a time when both of you are calm and relaxed. Ask if this is a good moment to talk (or ask in advance for a 20-minute meeting). Then come to the point, clearly and assertively stating your request for a raise (some experts recommend naming a specific amount), backing it up with the facts and data you’ve amassed. Try to be succinct. Remain composed, rational and upbeat.

And then — after you’ve made your strongest case — stop talking. You may get a raise. You may not. Either way, the response you receive will tell you volumes about your future with this particular employer.

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at