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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Thank You for the Interview

A reader writes…

Hi, Anita:

I was fortunate enough to land an interview at a manufacturing plant close to where I live. I am very excited about the possible opportunity to gain employment with this company and want to leave them with a lasting impression. What can I do post-interview to continue to spark their interest?

Dear, Eager to Please:

Congratulations on your interview. Getting your foot in the door and meeting face-to-face with the hiring manager is a huge leap toward gaining employment. Now that you have aced the interview, it is time to seal the deal with a little something extra: a great “thank you” note.

Thank you notes are a great way to show how much you value the interviewer’s time and appreciate their interest in you. It also lets them know that you are serious about wanting to be their next stellar employee. In my personal opinion, thank you notes are a requirement after every interview. Follow these simple steps, and take five minutes out of your day to help land the job you desire!Thank you

  • Ask for a business card from the hiring manager before you leave the interview. You should always do this at the end of the interview to make sure you have the correct contact information and address.
  • Select a professional stationery or card on which to write your “thank you” message. Avoid unprofessional imagery or loudly designed cards. Some hiring managers may prefer email communication. In this instance, it may be appropriate to send an email. If you are unsure on which method is best, do both. Send an email and mail a hand-written letter.
  • Address the interviewer using Mr., Mrs., or Ms. For example, if you are interviewed by John Employer you would write Mr. Employer. It is best to be too formal than too familiar.
  • If you are sending a card, address the envelope and write the card by hand. This makes the card more personal and shows that you took extra time to write it just for them (not mass-produced).
  • Choose a message that resonates with the hiring manager and include some information from your interview. Below are two examples that you can use as a guide.
    • Dear, Mr. Employer: Thank you for taking the time to discuss the (Job Title) opportunity with me on (Date). I believe my previous experience and skill set make me an excellent candidate to join your team, especially since you mentioned that (Issue) was a challenge you wanted to tackle. It was truly a pleasure to meet with you, and I look forward to hearing from you. Best regards,
      (Your Name)
    • Dear, Mr. Employer: Thank you for meeting with me to discuss the (Job Title) opportunity at (Company Name). Your insights and additional information about (Job Responsibilities) were very helpful and helped solidify my belief that I am the perfect candidate for the position. I look forward to hearing from you soon, and thank you again for this opportunity. Sincerely,
      (Your Name)
  • Send the thank you card as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of the interview. You can either send the card in the mail or hand-deliver it to the reception desk where you interviewed.

To bring these tips together, take a few moments to view this video:

This small acknowledgement will take you very far in the interview process. It will help the hiring manager remember you and serve as a reminder to your professionalism.

Readers: What have you done in the past to make an impression on a potential employer?

Best of luck,

Anita

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

Want to receive these tips by email? Simply subscribe for once-a-week tips and tricks for career success!

Achieving the Annual Raise

Hi, Anita:

I am just about to hit my second year mark with my employer and I think I deserve a pay raise. I have performed exceptionally well and taken on other roles and responsibilities in my department. How would you suggest that I go about asking for a pay raise at my annual review?

Dear, Ready for a Raise:

Congratulations on your two-year anniversary! From the sound of things, your employer is probably very happy to have brought you on board. Now that you have shined in your current role and offered to assist in different capacities, you most certainly should open the floor up for salary negotiations. As the old sayings go, “it doesn’t hurt to ask” and “you never know you can’t until you try.”  Here are some things to keep in mind when asking for a raise.

  • Make sure your timing is right. It is typically appropriate to ask for a raise after you have been at the company for at least a year. If you ask before this time, it may be premature and come off as pushy.
  • Show your commitment to your job and the company day in and day out. Your manager will be impressed by your tenacity and loyalty to the team. This means… Show up on time each day. Don’t sneak an extra 15 minutes into your lunch hour. Don’t spend your time on Facebook or texting with your girlfriend during the work day. Don’t make jokes about how much you’d rather be in bed than at work. Even if you only do these things every now and then, your manager will notice and take it as a lack of commitment.
  • Bring a list of projects or activities in which you had significant involvement to present to your manager. You want to show how valuable you are to your team and why you should be receiving increased compensation for your efforts.
  • Similarly, bring a list of goals that you have accomplished and a list of those you wish to achieve in the future with the company.
  • Do your research beforehand by looking at comparable positions in your area on sites like Payscale. You will go in knowing whether or not you are being low-balled or asking for far too much compensation.
  • Come to your raise discussion with a goal salary in mind. If you have a number in your head, you will be more confident and set on achieving that rate.
  • Be direct with your raise request. Do not beg for a raise or ask your manager if you deserve one. Be confident and proud of your accomplishments that have spurred you toward having this discussion.

These points will help you get off to a great start during your pay negotiations. With concrete proof of performance and confidence, a raise is more likely to come your way.

Check out this clip for a few tips on getting the raise you want:

Readers, what tactics have you used to ask for a raise? How nervous were you to bring up the subject on a scale from 1-10 (10 being “pulling your hair out” nervous)?

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

Warm Wishes,

Anita

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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