Everyone wants more money in their pocket because, whether we admit it or not, everyone believes that they deserve it. While this may very well be the case, there are generally seven important questions to ask yourself before you decide to have The Talk. With these questions thoughtfully answered, you will feel way better about marching up to your boss’ office (in the hopes of coming out with bags of cash).
1. Are you prepared to clearly articulate your value to your boss and discuss why you’re worth more at this juncture? Your chances of securing yourself a raise are only as good as your pitch. You have to ask yourself the tough questions that will inevitably arise when diving into discussions with your boss about an increase in salary. Your answers should be to the point, intelligent, informed and collected. You are your own best advocate and if you don’t believe in yourself or possess the ability to translate your worth to others, then securing a raise will only be that much more difficult.
2. Do you know what the median salary for your job is so that you can decide beforehand on how much you want to ask for, based on the industry standard? ~They~ say that knowledge is power, and part of acquiring that knowledge is being able to talk about salary bumps with a thorough understanding of what others in your industry are getting paid, how your experience and skill set stacks up compared to others, and what the average pay increase is from year to year. Using websites like glassdoor.com, salary.com and simplyhired.com with help you feel more comfortable suggesting a number because it will be based on information that you’ve researched prior.
3. Are you truly going above and beyond, exceeding expectations, or simply meeting your position’s general criteria? This may sound harsh, but some people have an inflated sense of themselves, and believe that they should be showered with extra cash by simply existing at a company for x amount of time. Start with a quick review of your job description. You should be going above and beyond that to be considered for a raise — that’s what raises are.
Rewards for people who work harder, deliver consistent, solid work, communicate across departments more efficiently, stand out amongst their peer, etc. Simply showing up to work and doing what you’re expected on a day-to-day basis won’t be enough to make your boss look at you as an invaluable asset. Be proactive. Ask questions. Make things run more smoothly by implementing new ideas and change around the office where you can. Fortune favors the bold and the hardworking, so make sure you take (or have taken) steps to appropriately access your performance before knocking on the boss’s door.
4. Consider how you will you handle a potential rejection. You could walk into your boss’s office with a perfect pitch and buttoned up presentation and the answer could be “no” due to circumstances that are beyond your boss’s control. To prepare for this ask yourself, “are there other flexibilities which are more or equally important to you if a raise is not an option.” Opportunities to work from home some days or receiving more vacation time are perks you should consider beforehand that could act as the equivalent of having extra money in your pocket, in case a raise isn’t something your company can swing.
5. How does the landscape within the company look and is it a good time to ask for a raise? Companies in the midst of a merge or senior management restructuring are not ideal landscapes in which one should be demanding an increase in pay. In these cases, having a detailed outline of some of your biggest accomplishments and examples of your work are essential to have on hand at all times. Keep working hard and tracking your progress and achievements so that when the timing is right, you can wow new management with physical evidence of your increased value in the workplace.
6. What are you going to ask for, and what are you willing to settle for if you negotiate. This is a straightforward question to ask yourself ahead of time. Come prepared with a number that you’d like to meet and practice negotiating so that you won’t feel flustered in case you’re asked, “will you settle for lower number x.”
7. Do you have a strategy? Think about wether or not you should lead the discussion or if you should simply put the topic on the table and let your boss take the lead and throw out the first offer. Remind yourself to not make the discussion personal in any way. Never talk about situations outside of work that are presenting strains on your finances as a way to win favor with a pity vote. Always focus on the positives and the good work you’re delivering, never bring the discussion around to things like, “we’re planning for a wedding/apartment/house/baby, and could use the cash.” Stand on your own merits, and be confident that you deserve it because of your work, not your situation at home.
Image via TrainSmart
Feel like you’ll never save enough money to be a real person? So did Steph Georgopulos. Read about it in Some Things I Did for Money.