Most Americans aren't happy with their salaries. Here's how to change that

Asking for a raise: Women vs. men
Asking for a raise: Women vs. men

Salary isn't the only factor that can determine our happiness at work, but it's a big one, for sure. Unfortunately, 65% of full-time workers don't earn the salary they want, according to CareerBuilder, and a big reason boils down to the fact that they haven't asked for more money. Specifically, 56% of employees say they've never requested a raise — but 66% of those who have asked received one.

If you're dissatisfied with your earnings, you shouldn't hesitate to make the case for a higher salary. Here's how to pull off that conversation successfully.

1. Know your worth

It's one thing to think you're making less than you should be, but it's another to back up that claim with numbers. Going into a raise negotiation with firm data will help make your case for a salary boost, so take the time to do your research beforehand and see what other people with your job title are commanding.

Keep in mind, however, that salaries can vary based on geographic location, so for a true apples-to-apples comparison, aim to dig up as much local income data as possible. Job site Glassdoor has a "Know Your Worth" tool that can be extremely valuable in this regard, but it's just one of many resources out there, so do some thorough digging before sitting down with your manager.

2. Use your accomplishments to your advantage

Maybe you can prove that other people with your job title make more money than you do. But what makes you worthy of a salary boost? Chances are, it's your solid performance — but that's something you might need to refresh your boss' memory on.

One of the best ways to make a case for a raise is to identify specific instances in which you went above and beyond at work. Maybe you came in several weekends in a row this past winter to help meet a pressing deadline. Or maybe you logged in every night after hours for a month to help test out a new software system. No matter the details, bring them up during that meeting so that your boss is more inclined to agree that you're worth the top end of your position's salary range.

Similarly, if you have data showing how you made or saved the company money, bring it and highlight it. Your boss might have an easier time granting you a $3,000 raise if you can prove that your efforts alone helped the company bank five times that amount last quarter.

3. Get your timing right

Asking for a raise can be a delicate conversation, so it's crucial to have it at the right time. This means you shouldn't ask your boss for a sit-down the week a major project is due from your department. Rather, choose a less stressful time to have that discussion.

Furthermore, it might help to approach your manager for more money shortly after meeting a major milestone or pulling off a challenging task successfully. This way, your personal win will be fresh in your manager's mind, thus increasing your chances of getting the raise you're after.

4. Don't be afraid to look elsewhere

Just because most people who ask for raises are successful doesn't mean you'll have the same results. Maybe your company's budget is limited, or your employer is just plain stingy. Either way, if you're convinced you're being underpaid and your request for more money is denied, you shouldn't be afraid to take your talent to another company.

Related links:

• Motley Fool Issues Rare Triple-Buy Alert

• This Stock Could Be Like Buying Amazon in 1997

• 7 of 8 People Are Clueless About This Trillion-Dollar Market

Looking for a new job while you're already employed gives you leverage in a salary negotiation, and you never know what better opportunities might be out there. Plus, there's a good chance your current salary will dictate what you earn going forward, so the more money you're able to eke out today, the greater your long-term prospects.

Getting started

Getting a job

Buying a car

Starting to invest

Buying a home

Starting a family

Retirement planning

CNNMoney Sponsors