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First Job Abroad? How to Feel Comfortable Asking for a Raise in English

Announcement! As of August 1, 2019, the TOEFL Reading, Listening and Speaking sections will be shortened. The TOEFL will also make changes to its prep materials and scoring system. Because of this, some of the info in our blog posts may not yet reflect the new exam format. We cover all the changes here.

So you landed a job in an English-speaking country and now it’s time to ask for a raise. Check out these tips from our friends at to help you maneuver this new situation.

Asking your boss or superior for a pay rise is an idea which fills most of us with dread. It’s a very delicate matter and you never know whether you will achieve your aim in the end or whether things will stay the same. What about asking for a pay rise in English if it’s not your mother tongue? That’s worse still! Don’t worry as today we will provide you with some advice (with examples) so you are prepared and can get that well-deserved pay rise.

Find a Suitable Time to Discuss the Matter

You don’t have to be very intelligent to understand that it’s not a good idea to approach your boss when he or she has just come out of a stressful meeting, or the day that he or she comes to work in a filthy mood. Make the most of a time you know they are free and in a better mood.

You can attract their attention in the following way:

  • Excuse me, Mr Grant, do you have a minute?
  • Good morning, Mrs Holmes, may I discuss something with you?

If your superior is a very busy person, schedule a meeting for a time when you are both free.

  • Do you have anything on at 3 o’clock on Thursday?
  • How does meeting with me tomorrow at midday suit you?

State Your Request

Be direct but polite. Remember that the modal verb “would” will let you make polite requests


  • Hi, Diane, I was hoping that we could talk about my salary.
  • I’d like to revisit my salary.
  • I would like to ask for a pay rise.

Justify Your Request

Your boss is likely to want an explanation why you think you deserve a pay rise. Take all the relevant data with you to support your request: documents, graphs, figures, etc. You can prepare a report or a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate your professional achievements.


  • I have been working here for a year and in that time, I’ve taken on quite a few new responsibilities.
  • Since I’ve been in charge of the customer service department, the complaint rate has dropped by 38%.
  • I have thrown myself into the new international expansion project and, thanks to this project, the company has achieved its best turnover figures to date.

Be Precise

Make it clear what your expected salary is as it could be the case that you are granted a raise but one that is less than you wanted.


  • I meant a 10% raise.
  • I think a 10% raise would be deserved based on my tasks.
  • Based on the job market, a person with my post and responsibility should be earning at least €XXXXX a year and my current salary does not meet this rate.

Very good! Now you just need to be patient and cross your fingers. Remember that knowing English is an important advantage which can open up many doors to you career-wise including the chance to earn more money in your job.

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