The new jobs report shows wages are soaring — so it’s time to ask for a raise

The average pay of U.S. workers jumped 1.2% over April and May, to $30.33 an hour, the government said Friday as part of its monthly report on employment. To put that pay growth in perspective, wages went up by just 2% over the entire last year.

Businesses are finding they have to offer more money as they struggle to fill a record number of job openings: 8.1 million by the end of March, according to an earlier report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. An update on unfilled jobs is due next week.

If you've already got a job, you can use what's happening in the labor market to your advantage. Your boss is probably very aware that you have other options, and won't want to risk losing you — which makes this the perfect time to ask for, or even demand, a raise.

Whether you need a pay bump to pay down debt, or you just want to advance your career, you've got more leverage to get one right now. Here's how to walk confidently iinto a meeting with the boss and come out with the salary boost you deserve.

Don't focus on how long you’ve worked therePressmaster/Shutterstock

Starting the negotiation by boasting about your seniority can be counterproductive, so focus on your accomplishments instead.

Do you have a diverse set of transferable skills? How much does the company stand to lose if it has to replace you?

Did you go back to school to refine your skill set? That may be a strong reason why you need a raise.

If student loans are eating up too much of your monthly budget, a raise might help — but you also might want to consider refinancing your student loans to free up a few hundred dollars in your monthly budget.

Point out real accomplishmentsAYA images/Shutterstock

When talking to your boss, show your value to the company by drawing on concrete examples.

These can be situations like any great newcomers you helped recruit, the times you've taken the lead on projects or work initiatives or times where you helped save the company money.

Demonstrating your long-term commitment (and results) will help tip the scales in your favor.

Story continuesLook put togetherHeng Films on Unsplash

Whether you’re working in e-commerce or warehousing, retail or the restaurant industry, there’s an increasing need for workers, according to stats on job postings from ZipRecuiter.

UberEats made the top of ZipRecruiter's list for April with over 300,000 jobs posted on the site during the month. E-commerce colossus Amazon was near the top with over 250,000 jobs posted.

An overwhelming majority of managers (80%) say what you wear has an impact on whether or not you’ll get a raise, according to a survey conducted for recruitment company Robert Half.

Whether you ask for more money in person or via Zoom, make sure you look like a professional who deserves to be paid more. This could be an excuse to do some clothes shopping, but it's for a very good cause.

Do your homework on salaries and benefitsRawpixel.com/Shutterstock

How does your pay rate compare to the national average of $30.33 an hour? You may feel you’re not being paid what you’re worth, but you need to make certain the market agrees with you.

Resources such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn and the Bureau of Labor Statistics can provide valuable information on average salaries for your position, and you can use that data to back up your request for a pay raise.

Don’t be shy to ask around about the benefits your peers receive, including health and life insurance, and 401(k)s.

Request a performance reviewalexskopje / Shutterstock

A performance review is a chance for you and the boss to sit down and assess your accomplishments, and for you to demonstrate how you’ve exceeded expectations.

Make sure your boss knows you want to talk about the value you add to the company.

Walking in prepared for your performance review with those concrete examples of how you’ve helped the company succeed will show your boss you’re serious about your request.

Practice your pitchPressmaster/Shutterstock

Even if you have the data on your side and can demonstrate a long list of accomplishments, asking for a raise can be an intimidating experience. That’s why you’ll want to practice your sales pitch ahead of time.

You can even ask a trusted friend or family member to help you rehearse.

Have your friend play your boss and give you push-back when you start making your request. Brainstorm any objections the boss might have and prepare your answers. All this will make your pitch even stronger.

Keep it professionalPhoto by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Whatever you do, avoid getting personal while talking to your boss. While some supervisors will have no objection to being asked for a raise, others may see the request as an affront.

Remain cordial and composed, and avoid getting defensive.

And if, for some reason, your boss says “no,” simply politely ask "Why?" and really listen to the answer.

Finally, when the interview is over, thank your supervisor for giving you the time. If the response to your request negative, don't fret. Make a polite exit and avoid burning a professional bridge.

What if things don’t go your way?AYA images/Shutterstock

If your supervisor gives you some constructive advice, then you’ll know what you need to do before you can ask for a raise again.

And if you’re truly unsatisfied with the reasoning you're given, you can always explore your options to find a new workplace where you feel valued and will be paid the salary you deserve.

Or you can try being your own boss by freelancing, using any new or existing skills.

Other ways to boost your incomeChampion studio / Shutterstock

If you needed a raise to give your budget a little boost right now, here are a few options to get your hands on some extra funds.

Take on a side project. If you have a special talent or skill, why not use it to supplement your income? Set up an account online that can help you turn your pastime into a profitable side hustle.

Make room and save money. Cleaning out your closet or basement has never been so rewarding. Sign up for a service that offers you cash for your old belongings. When it's time to do some online shopping, use a free browser extension that will scour websites for the best prices and coupons.

Dip your toe into investing. Forget everything you thought you knew about investing. You don’t need a lot of money, and you don't need to be fluent in Wall Street jargon either. Download a popular app that allows you to invest your "spare change,” and turn your pennies into a diversified portfolio.