I Resolve… to Get a Raise

Dear, Anita,

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to be better with money. I even made a budget, which I’ve never done before. But now I see that I really need to make more money. I’m gathering up my courage to ask my boss for a raise. What is the best way?

Dear, Going for the Gold,

Getting a raise is a common work-related resolution. Even though the pundits tell us we are out of the recession, gone are the days when an annual raise is a foregone conclusion. First, does your company conduct an annual performance reviews? You may not even have a chance of a raise until your official review rolls around. If your company does not have an annual review system, be sensitive to the timing when asking for a pay increase. If your company has had a setback or is in the midst of a struggle of some type, you may want to wait until the skies have cleared to ask for more money.

Should You Ask for a Raise? Prepare Your Case. If your annual performance review is coming up, don’t just go in to passively listen to your supervisor’s evaluation. Prepare some talking points ahead of time. List your accomplishments for the year: What challenge did you overcome? What big project did you finish successfully? How have you contributed to your company’s bottom line? What are your unique strengths?

Walk the Walk. You can’t just talk the talk; you have to walk the walk – every day, not just the two weeks prior to your raise request. (Do you really think the cop doesn’t know you are speeding when you brake suddenly after you spot him?) Be punctual … every day. Do your best work… every day. Have a great attitude… every day.  Even if your performance evaluation is months away, start laying the groundwork now.

Increase your Value. Just doing what you were hired to do by rote is often not enough to get the raise you want.  You must complete your tasks with excellence, and for a larger raise, with that little something extra. You may need to take on additional duties to warrant a raise. Or, you can increase your value to the company by suggesting cost-cutting measures or ways to boost sales and revenue. If your review isn’t for many months, there is time to learn a new skill or prepare that proposal outlining your big ideas.

Know Your Worth. While discussing salaries with co-workers is generally frowned upon, you will want to do some research about the going pay rate for your position. Check out online resources, such as Indeed.com’s Salary Search or Payscale.com. Instead of asking your boss for a specific dollar amount, suggest a range. And don’t be surprised if you don’t get an answer on the spot. Your supervisor may need to crunch some numbers or get approval from higher management. Do try to get a sense of the timeframe for a final resolution before leaving your meeting.

Alternatives to Raises. If your raise request is initially met with a “no,” think outside the box when it comes to salary negotiation. Could you work at home one day a week, and save childcare costs? Even at the same pay rate, that amounts to increased dollars in your wallet. Would your company be willing to offer you a one-time bonus for a special project? Are they willing to pay for your continuing education, which will benefit you in your current position as well as in jobs to come?

The best way to get a raise is to make yourself invaluable, and make your boss look good to their clients or supervisors. My past blog, Achieving the Annual Raise, gives further tips for increasing your earning power.

Readers: What has been your most successful strategy to get the pay raise you asked for?

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Veronica Avila
    Jan 14, 2014 @ 13:44:12

    Dear Anita Chew, I’ve struggled and still am struggling to find a job and I’ve gotten no where. I’ve been and still am applying everywhere and not giving up. But is there anything else I can do while applying for these jobs?

    Sincerely, lost and confused

    Reply

  2. Nanda Dasrat
    Jan 14, 2014 @ 12:07:28

    Dear Anita,

    My name is Nanda, and I’ve been job hunting for years and all i can fin is dead ends job which very little for a lot of work, I don’t have a degree, i have send application to several staffing agencies, went to their office but never hear from them. what am i doing wrong I am very depressed.

    Reply

    • anitaclew
      Jan 14, 2014 @ 13:50:44

      Nanda, Job hunting can be discouraging. If all you are finding is dead-end jobs, maybe it is time to take a good hard look at your skill set. If you could have a dream job, what skills would it take? If you aren’t proficient at a certain software program, or the unique aptitude specific to an industry, resolve to upgrade your competence in that area. Check out classes at your local community college, career center, or online. You needn’t get a full-blown degree (but go for it if you want!). With your newfound certifications and skills – and updated résumé – you open yourself up to jobs with more upward mobility.

      Reply

  3. Jesse Lara
    Jan 14, 2014 @ 09:45:46

    looking for jobs that require sitdown forklift operators.Full time or part time but would definitely perfer full time been working1099taxes and been working under the tabel for5 years and im tierd of it

    Reply

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Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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