The Art Of Asking For A Raise

by Charlene Flanagan
Okay, we’re going to level with you—asking for a raise is not an easy task. Of all the awkward conversations we worry about in our careers, this one might just top the list. There are perhaps a dozen pros and cons you have to weigh before making the big ask: have you assessed your contribution at work, your reliability, work ethic and really, most importantly ask yourself—do I actually deserve a raise?

Now, you may consider yourself a reasonable professional: you’re on time everyday at the office, you meet all of your deadlines, you even offer to help your colleagues with their workload, you’re a nice person and everybody likes you. Good enough, right? Maybe not. 

If you really are going above and beyond, contributing to the company's growth, and being a great colleague along the way you may very well not be getting paid what you actually deserve at work. But it doesn’t have to be that way, especially if you’ve got the record to prove it. When it comes to getting your dues, the most important thing you can do is ask for it!

Before you do however, it’s important to know exactly how to go about it. The first step is to do your homework. Allow us to explain:

Know What You're Worth
Before you decide to have that conversation with your boss, make sure you know exactly what you’re worth. Research your job at glassdoor or payscale before you decide to ask for a salary bump. Calculate your new salary based on your years of experience or skill set. Do some research on the job market and the industry you’re in, and ask for a raise as per industry standards, not necessarily based on what you consider to be a reasonable amount.

Get Specific 
It’s easy to make blanket statements such as “I work on weekends” or “I make more sales”. However, when you have to ask for your dues, it pays to be specific. After all, when money is the subject of discussion, an argument supported by verifiable data will work in your favor when you have the numbers to prove it. Create an illustrated progress report that outlines progress to your boss. It's best if it illustrates how much revenue you’ve earned for the company. When you can prove that you’re an asset, you have a true bargaining chip.

Evaluate Your Office Relationships
More often than not, it’s hard to read people, especially in a professional environment.  While some people will keep it strictly professional, others may become genuine friends (or the opposite) with their co-workers. When asking for a raise, it’s important to know where you stand among your peers. Do they consider you to be a team player? This is valuable information you’ll need when it’s time to have the money talk. Be sure you have some allies on your team who can vouch for your work and general awesome attitude, don't rely on your own word alone.

Leave Emotions At The Door
First things first, you’re a professional and when it comes to asking for a raise, you need to treat it as you would any other business meeting. Your boss is going to ask you why you want the raise. So go easy on the emotional truth—whether it’s needing to pay off a loan, or if your partner lost his or her job. Keep it professional. Facts like you’ve dedicated 3 years to the firm or you’ve gone over and above your job profile and pay scale to get the job done is what will sell. 

The truth is, you need to tread carefully when it comes to asking for a raise, but that shouldn't mean you don't do it at all. Don’t be discouraged if, when the time comes, you’re refused a salary hike. Be patient, persistent and if needed, change your tactics. But most importantly, stick to your guns and ask for what you truly believe you deserve. 
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