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Career Corner
How To Ask For A Raise

Patricia Garza -- We all want to be paid fairly for our performance. Before you ask for a raise, consider these important tips so that you can prepare accordingly for a yes...or a no.

When you’re working at a job you love and the only point of dissatisfaction is your salary, you have three options. You can leave your otherwise satisfactory job for another; you can stick it out and endure being paid less than you believe your work is worth; or you can ask for a raise. The latter option doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds if you follow some practical advice.

Smooth out any rough patches

Before you ask for a raise, it is wise to make sure that your relationship with your direct supervisor and/or the person who signs your paychecks is positive. You don’t want an old rift between the two of you to be an emotional factor in why you are denied a raise. Make things right if you need to, and then allow some time to pass before asking for a raise. Also, if in your most recent performance review, your boss pointed out areas where you need to improve, build evidence that you have improved in the areas. Show up to work on time or early and focus on your performance and attitude. Ensure that there is no immediate, obvious reason that you should be denied a raise.

Build your case

When sitting for a job interview, successful interviewees know how to build a case for themselves that they are the best person for the job. The same is true of asking for a raise. In the month or so before you plan on asking for your raise, begin drafting a list of your accomplishments in the past year. This can be anything from outperforming other people in your department, taking on new responsibilities, exceeding expectations for your job description, handling challenging situations effectively, coming up with a winning idea for your team, or landing a key client. Be sure to point out how your specific contributions are adding to the company’s bottom line.

Along with preparing a case as to why you should receive the raise, do some homework and determine what the average pay is in your field. If it’s higher than what you currently earn, you have another key piece of evidence to add to your case.

Timing is everything

Pay attention to what is going on in your boss or supervisor’s life. If they are dealing with a trying family situation or are angry about a new demand from corporate office, wait for a more opportune time to ask for a raise. Also, if your company or organization is coming up on a stressful crunch time period, such as a week when multiple, deadline projects or monthly reports are due, wait until the storms have calmed. Schedule an appointment to meet with your boss so that you are not interrupted when you make your pitch. The best time to ask for a salary adjustment is after you’ve just accomplished a major feat at work or earned a significant award for performance.

If they say no

First, guard your response. Leaving the room angry and slamming the door isn’t going to get you anywhere. Instead of having an emotional reaction, calmly ask what about your work performance needs to improve for you to get the raise you believe you have earned. If the reason has to do with the fact that the company is undergoing a hiring freeze and the ability to adjust salaries is out of their control, you may have exhausted your opportunities at your workplace. But if your boss outlines what you need to do further to earn that raise, take it to heart and come back again for round two when you’ve demonstrated that you’ve consistently met those demands.

Patricia Garza was the guest contributor. She writes about gadget, technology, design, social media, e-learning related articles at online university rankings. To get common sense advice on how to achieve your career goals subscribe to Ramon Greenwood's free semi-monthly newsletter and blog. Go to Common Sense At Work Blog. His take-it-to-the bank advice comes from a world of experience, including serving as Senior Vice President of American Express, an entrepreneur, professional director, career coach, and author.

© 2011 Ramon Greenwood

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