Asking For A Raise Is Tough — Here’s How To Prepare For It

Asking for a raise can be a daunting task, and new research reveals that many Americans struggle with it. As a professional, it’s just something you have to become used to. Don’t succumb to the fallacy that your company hasn’t offered you a raise because they don’t think you deserve it. At the end of the day, it’s a business that wants the best output for the lowest cost. This doesn’t mean they’ll never offer you a raise — incremental annual raises are common — it just means that you’ll have to be ready to ask for the amount you deserve.

As it turns out, 33% of women and 20% of men who are employed have never attempted it. This figure comes from a new survey, which asked Americans how they approach salary negotiations (if at all). Some of its findings are troubling. For one, 53% of employed people think they’re underpaid, though 52% aren’t comfortable asking for a raise. Women are 70% more likely to be very uncomfortable with it. Considering that 64% of people made salary an important consideration in choosing their career path, these figures are disconcerting. Luckily, there are ways to be prepared to get the compensation you deserve.

Know what raise you want, and have data to back up the number

Never go into a salary negotiation without a number in mind. In fact, you should have two: your goal salary and the lowest you’ll settle for. To figure out generally what your position is worth, use tools like Glassdoor and PayScale to research how others in the same role are paid. Showing how other companies in your area compensate someone in your position will strengthen your case to your employer. If for some reason it is lower than you think is fair, then you just need to prepare to make a case for the additional value you provide beyond the typical person in your role (if the average salary is brought up).

Thoughtfully reflect on your work and compile your accomplishments

Your boss is human and probably has multiple employees to manage, so you can’t expect them to remember every detail of your work. In truth, you probably don’t remember every detail off the top of your head. Make sure you’re prepared for a salary conversation by reviewing your past year of work and pulling out any notable moments. Did you find a solution to a problem the team had? Did a client of yours share positive feedback or renew their contract? Is there a process that couldn’t function without your unique expertise? Once you have these accomplishments compiled, organize them in a way that makes sense your supervisor. For example, if your company outlines the responsibilities of your position, you can list out how you meet or exceed each of them using your accomplishments.

Consider what your supervisor values — and focus on that first

Not all bosses care about the same things. Some care most about financial results, some about attitude, some about commitment to the company — the list goes on. All supervisors want their employees to fulfill the responsibilities of their jobs, but understanding what they hold value to most will help you make a strong case for your raise. Would an increase in sales impress him or her? Or perhaps he or she would care more about increased team morale? Consider how your boss has reacted to events in the past to gauge what he or she values most. Then, use that to show him or her why you’re the type of employee they want (and one that deserves a great raise).

Think of other types of compensation to ask for in case your raise gets rejected

Sometimes the raise you deserve unfortunately just isn’t within reach. Depending on a company’s financial performance, the budget might not be there. This doesn’t mean you have to settle for what you’ve been given though. Assuming this is a company you enjoy working for, there are other ways to get compensated as you wait for the point where your deserved raise is possible. Extra vacation days, flexible hours, commuter perks, a one-time bonus, or even the ability to work remotely are all benefits you can negotiate to get yourself a better deal. You should still go into the negotiation with your raise as the goal, but be prepared to ask for these perks in case the new salary isn’t enough on its own.

This guest post was authored by Maddi Salmon.

Maddi works in marketing full-time but enjoys writing about careers, personal finance, and food in her free time. She started out as an accountant but soon realized she couldn’t spend all day staring at a spreadsheet. Now she only spends part of her day doing that. She’s based out of Raleigh, but was born in Southern California and raised in Vermont.







Main image via Flickr.

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Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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