Asking for a raise is stressful to begin with, since you're putting yourself front and center with your boss. If you're going after a big raise, the stakes and pressure are even higher. Going in prepared and ready to sell yourself to your employer is necessary for a large raise request. If you're not convinced you deserve the money, your boss won't be either.
Your employer bases annual raises on living expense increases and an internal award system, but since you're asking for a larger amount, you must make sure you're not overreaching. Asking for an unrealistic raise greatly lowers your chances of succeeding and makes you look uninformed about your industry. Your boss simply isn't going to pay you beyond the common pay range for your position, even if you're held in high regard. Look at the going pay rates in your area for your position to get an idea of what to aim for. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, has information about salaries by industry. Ask your human resources department about the salary limits for your position.
Pick the Right Time
Time your request in a way that shows you're aware of what's going on in the company. You won't score any points with your employer by asking for a big raise at the wrong time. You can get an idea of your employer's finances if it reports its profits publicly, but you'll have to look for internal clues if it doesn't. Red flags include budget cuts, layoffs and supply limiting, while green lights may take the form of hiring sprees, increased benefits and bigger budgets.
Prepare Your Pitch
You'll need to pitch your raise request to your boss. You want to convince him that giving you a big raise is the right thing to do, so you must prepare talking points that cover what you do for the company that justifies higher pay. Avoid bringing up personal reasons for your raise request. Points that show how you affect the bottom line work the best, but if your job does not relate directly to profits, you'll need to put the spotlight on your recent accomplishments. Use actual figures that support your claims. For example, don't just say, "I increased sales over the last year" when you can offer, "I increased sales by 52 percent over the last year."
Don't get angry or emotional if you don't get the raise you want. Threatening to leave, for instance, may backfire if your boss tells you to go ahead and walk and you don't have another job in the wings. If money is the reason the boss can't grant your request, ask for extra benefits instead, such as more personal days, and for reconsideration later. If you're rejected because your boss doesn't think your performance is as stellar as you do, ask him what you can do to hit the mark and then work toward those goals.