Chances are that if you’re reading this article, you want a raise AND the best method of asking for one! Luckily for you, I can teach you the most effective way to ask for a raise in only three steps. [Edit 2/19/2008: Click here if you’re looking for a Sample Letter]
Step 1 – Assess Where You Are And What You Want
The first step necessary before negotiating a raise is to ask yourself the following questions:
- As an employee, do I stand out, or blend in?
- Do I really care about the employer I work for and the job I do, or is it just a paycheck?
- Do I make my own effort to learn new job skills so I can add greater value to myself for my employer, or do I just coast along day to day?
- Career-wise, where do I want to be 5 to 10 years from now?
- Do I have a good relationship with my supervisor, or do I actively avoid talking to management?
The purpose of asking these questions is to assess whether or not you actually deserve a raise. The last thing you want to do is storm into your boss’ office making demands with no data prepared to support your case — such an act would certainly hinder your chances of getting the raise you desire!
It’s also important to determine whether or not your employer would be in a position to grant you a raise, and to understand specifically what you’re asking for. To clarify: Most employers provide mandatory cost-of-living raises each year to all existing employees. These are different from “merit raises,” which are granted to employees individually based on job performance.
Needless to say, in order to be considered for a merit raise, you must have already put in an effort to earn it. After considering above questions, if you believe you’re truly deserving of additional compensation for your contributions on the job, read on to learn how to tactfully ask for a raise.
Step 2 – Gather Data To Build Your Case
Congratulations, you’re confident that you deserve a raise! Confidence in this matter will be your most useful asset when the time comes to ask for your raise. Right now though, your focus is to build a case that will convince your supervisor that you deserve it. The best method for doing this is to create a summary of the work you perform, separating the tasks that are expected of you and the initiatives you performed on your own volition.
It is also worthwhile to do some research within the organization you’re working for. If there is a designated Human Resources department, ask someone there if they have any suggestions they can offer — chances are they know what strategies work best for approaching your supervisor on the subject of a merit raise. In the event there is no HR department, select someone who you can confide in to talk to. It’s best to choose someone who has received an announced raise or promotion in the time you have been working there.
Most importantly, it is necessary to research what the open job market is paying for your position. Sites such as salary.com and salaryexpert.com are excellent sources for finding this type of information relative to where you live. Make certain that your current salary is not more than the average salary listed on these sites — you would have a hard time arguing that you are being underpaid if your boss can counter your case by looking up those values.
Rehearse your reasons so you can present your case confidently and make your raise a reality.
Step 3 – Talk With Your Boss
Armed with your reasons and research, schedule a time to talk with your supervisor. Consider putting your proposal in writing if they’re regularly very busy — but do not just leave it for them to find in their in box! A request of this magnitude requires hand-delivery.
When I approached my supervisor with a merit raise proposal, I asked her for ten minutes of her time to meet in private. During our meeting I explained that I wrote her a letter asking for a raise, but didn’t want to occupy too much of her time. I handed her the letter and then welcomed her to discuss the matter with me after she had gotten a chance to review it.
Remember, confidence and attitude are what count most. Don’t give the impression as if you’re giving an ultimatum — simply express your needs in an calm, educated manner. If your supervisor knows you’re deserving of a raise, and you demonstrate you have put effort into making your case before asking, you will be taken seriously. Good luck!
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