How to Ask For and Earn a Raise

two businessmenMoney – why do we always want more? There’s no doubt that money is an essential – albeit sometimes wicked – part of the world we live in, and most of us can’t help but to dream about a bigger paycheck. It’s one way to measure our success, and it’s easy to track. So … how does your salary stack up? And should you be asking for more?

Asking for a raise is probably dead last on your to-do list, right down there with pulling the weeds and taking out the trash. However, average compensation is on the rise in the U.S. – up 1.9 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This may be your year to go for it! 

Convince yourself, first. If you’re ready to speak up but feeling a bit nervous, you should know that salary upticks are typically granted on a yearly basis. Since the recession, automatic raises aren’t as common, but you can still use this year-to-year model as your own personal guide. Look at the profitability of the company and the demand for employees in your industry. Is your company thriving? Is your position much-needed? Use this information to boost your confidence.

Time it right. Timing is truly everything, and you should take all things into account: the time of the year that raises are typically granted, how often your performance is evaluated and when your company decides on their budget. Don’t wait until your end of the year review to ask for a raise – by that time, the budget’s been set and it’s probably too late.

Be strategic. Make your case in a way that’s sensitive to your boss’s personality. If they tend to be careful and calculated, Plant the idea in their head several months in advance. If they’re more to the point, ask to set up a meeting specifically to revisit your salary. No matter which way you go, it’s best to be straightforward and prepared to explain yourself. You should know exactly what you want and exactly why you deserve it. A raise isn’t just to reward you for your time – it’s to pay you for the skills, value and accomplishments you’ve gained that you didn’t have before.

What if the answer is no? Rejection may make you feel down and out, but don’t get discouraged. Ask what it would take for you to earn a raise in the future and then look forward to the possibility of a pay bump later on.

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