Asking for a raise is as nerve racking as professional experiences come, however it’s also a negotiation that everyone will endure at some point with an employer. Before we delve any deeper into the process and how you should go about it, let’s first settle on one highly likely and somewhat surprising variable (which some people might not realize when frustrated over their pay): The majority of the time – scratch that – 99.9% of the time, you have to ask for a raise in order to receive one. So, if you haven’t rolled up your sleeves, done the research on median salary ranges for your position and taken proactive measures, then it’s not likely you’re going to see your paycheck increase. But we know it’s not that easy. Asking for a raise is one of those meetings where walking in confident and determined is likely going to be the most crucial factor in determining the outcome. Before we go any further, let’s get something straight: we’re not talking about those automatic, one – two percent raises that the HR department rewards you with on “Cookie-Friday” after you’ve put in 4 years in the company. We’re talking about a real raise… one that you deserve for recent accomplishments and surpassing the expectations set by management. The following are some simple things to help you strategize your game plan for getting that well-deserved raise: Timing is everything. One crucial element in getting a raise is timing. Like all negotiations, timing can mean a seal in the deal, or blowing your spiel. Make sure you’ve carefully reviewed the company’s financial situation and the appropriateness in timing when asking for a raise. If the company is on hard times, the last thing management needs is a request in raise, even if you’re department goals are being met. Also, make sure to ask for a raise when you have just had a major success. Your charm may be a weapon, but your performance should act as ammunition. Do your research. Know what your worth in the current marketplace is. What’s the average median salary that people in your field and position are earning within your area? Know this number and demonstrate to your manager that you are not average. And be realistic. Don’t ask for a salary outside the range of your position, because you’re highly unlikely to receive it. Be flexible. Never go into any meeting with the narrow mind of having an ultimatum, unless you’re prepared to deal with the consequences of having that approach, i.e. a better job offer. Have an open mind to other possibilities if the raise you have in mind doesn’t seem to be in the horizon. If the company’s budget is too tight, consider asking for other perks they can offer. Need vs. Deserve – Know the Difference. Focus on the positive. Don’t focus on the raise that you need for whatever reason, be it a lifestyle change such as having another child. Rather, focus on the why you deserve the raise and convincing management of this key point. In order to get your raise and get an amount you’re comfortable with, you’ll need to demonstrate your value, accomplishments and contributions to your department and your organization. Don’t assume your work speaks for itself – bring support material to your meeting when asking for a raise, such as a spreadsheet with all of your accomplishments. Hopefully, you’ve been tracking them, and if so, it’s that kind of organization that deserves to be rewarded with a raise! To sum up: Know what the market is, where your company is, what you’re asking for and why you deserve it. If you can effectively communicate this knowledge, your chances at success have already increased ten fold.
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