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Home  > Article

Asking for a Raise

By Laura Sweeney

Often, the only way to get a raise is to ask for one. But before you waltz into the office and name your price, take time to prepare - there is an art to asking for a raise.

 
If the company is in a slump and your boss is under pressure to cut the department's budget, the odds are working against you. If times are good, so is your timing.
 
You're working long hours, meeting every deadline, filling every quota, and closing every sale. You think you deserve a raise, but nobody is offering to fill your pockets. Often, the only way to get a raise is to ask for one. But before you waltz into the office and name your price, take time to prepare - there is an art to asking for a raise. Below are six smart steps to follow.


Step 1: Do the research

Figure out your "going rate" in the industry. Are you paid more or less than average? Consult acquaintances and friends who have similar jobs, or ask your colleagues how much they earn (if you can do so delicately). Find out if your company follows a set pay scale, and use this information to determine how much of a raise you can reasonably request.

Step 2: Assess your performance
Raises are given to reward stellar performance and to recognize the level of responsibility an employee manages. Do you qualify for a raise? Assess the quantity of your work, and even more importantly, the quality of your work. Rate factors such as your willingness to accept new tasks and learn new things. Take an honest look at your contributions to the company.

Step 3: Evaluate your company's economic situation
If the company is in a slump and your boss is under pressure to cut the department's budget, the odds are working against you. If times are good, so is your timing.

Step 4: Come up with a number
Using all the information you have gathered, determine what you think is a fair raise. Set a range. The upper limit should be aggressive, but not outrageous, and the lower limit should be your breaking point, below which you would consider looking for a new job.

Step 5: Be confident and convincing
Present a solid and thoughtful case to your boss. If your research reveals that you're underpaid, share the evidence with your boss. Explain the reasons you deserve a raise, and use specific examples to illustrate your contributions. Don't just ask for a raise, justify one.

Step 6: Leave with information
If your boss wants to negotiate, be firm but flexible. Be creative when negotiating compensation, leveraging options like more vacation time, transportation reimbursement, or flexible work hours. If the answer is just plain no, leave the meeting with some information. Find out why you were turned down. Is it your performance? Is money tight? Is it too soon for a raise? Demonstrate your persistence by asking what you can do to improve your chances for a raise in the future, and agree to revisit the subject again.







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