If you feel the need to ask for a raise, the most positive way to approach this is to ask for extra work and responsibility and link this to a pay rise, if not immediately then in the future. This is a grown-up approach that employers respond to better than simply asking for more pay for doing the same job.
If you decide to ask for a pay rise, prepare yourself beforehand rather than jumping into a spur-of-the-moment conversation. Before meeting with your boss, compile a list of your professional accomplishments since your last performance review. It’s important to display to your employer why you deserve a pay rise. Professionals who are able to consistently demonstrate how they have added value to the business stand a greater chance of successfully negotiating a pay rise. Be sure to include examples of where you have exceeded goals, provided innovative solutions, and all the ways you’ve gone beyond your job description.
Then say something along the lines of, 'I've been doing my research and for my role, experience etc it seems that I am being underpaid. I should be on XX. I really enjoy working here but I would like a fair salary adjustment that works for us all.'
You don’t have to wait for your annual pay review, you can raise the issue any time. There’s no ‘perfect’ moment, but some occasions are better than others (a survey conducted in 2005 suggested managers are most receptive to salary review requests on a Wednesday).
There is no 'proper' or standard way to ask for a raise or salary increase. It's not something that people are trained to do, and little is written about it. People use various approaches: they can write; discuss informally; discuss with colleagues and hope the boss gets to hear; they drop hints to test the water; they ask the boss politely; demand firmly; go over the boss's head, or maybe even threaten to resign, secure another job offer, or simply resign.
Many organisations are trying to take on new staff to drive growth in an improving market, and the last thing they want to see is their best people leave. Staff attrition hurts organisations - it impacts on productivity and costs money. If businesses are unable to retain the skilled employees they already have, they face double the difficulty in securing people with the skills and experience to take their organisation forwards.
If someone else is negotiating on your behalf (e.g. a recruitment agency), it’s very important that you maintain control over the communications. This means asking a lot of questions of the agency when you get started. Make sure that you’re completely transparent about what you want, and that you can trust them to represent you. Since agents are usually paid a percentage of your starting salary as their commission, they may strong-arm an employer into offering you more than you asked for, which could result in the employer choosing another candidate. Don’t be afraid to talk to more than one recruiter to find one you can really trust to be on your side.