If you work hard at your job, get complimented on your work, are rarely late or absent and have quality experience, chances are you deserve a raise. Some companies are happy to give out raises to their best workers because it is the right thing to do, but others won’t budge unless they are pushed. Asking for a raise can be a nerve wracking experience. You may feel presumptuous or arrogant asking for more money, but the truth is that you are probably worth much more than your currently salary. Good employees are hard to find, and any company worth working for will recognize this and pay accordingly; however, a raise is unlikely to fall into your lap. You need to be proactive and prepared.
The first step to take during this process is to find out what you’re worth in the job market. There are online services that can help you discover competitive salaries for a wide variety of positions in different parts of the country. If average pay for your position is higher than what you are currently earning, you have solid ammunition in support of your raise. If you’re earning the average in your field, you will need to present your boss with reasons why you are worth more than the average worker who has your position.
Prepare Your Case
Computers make it easy to document success at your job. Make sure to keep track of all your accomplishments and efforts to help the company by saving emails, reports and any evidence of an increase in work load. The more solid information you have of your excellence the less power management will have to deny your request for a raise. You can deliver this information vocally during the meeting for your raise request, but providing physical copies can enhance your argument.
Time Your Request
Figuring out when to ask for a raise involves a lot of different factors in the business. Just because you deserve a raise doesn’t always mean management will be willing to give you one at any particular moment. The best times to ask are during your personal milestones with the company: anniversaries, progress reports and annual reviews. A good report from management gives you solid evidence to present when you’re questioned about why you deserve a pay bump. You can also ask for a raise when the company announces plans for expansion or growth. This gives you a valuable opportunity to show how you’ll be an integral part to future business success. If your company just went through a series of layoffs or massive cut backs, you should allow for a cool off period before submitting a request.
How to Respond to a Rejection
Even the best employees have a chance of having their pay raise request rejected. It’s important to have a strategic response to a complete rejection or being given a much smaller raise than requested. Unless you have an incompetent boss, you will be provided with a reason why your request couldn’t be granted. A common answer is that there is not enough money in the budget, but this can be a sign that management is open for negotiation. Try to get job offers from companies in the area to show that you are worth more in the marketplace than what you’re getting paid. Do not threaten to quit unless you can actually afford to do so. If your boss has honest criticisms about your performance, take those critiques to heart and work hard on improving. It will look good when you resubmit your request at a later date.
About the author: Carol Sand MAP Houston is a career counselor in Houston, TX offering skills assessments, resume and cover letter writing tips, and networking advice for job seekers and career changers.