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Thursday, June 12, 2008

How to Ask for a Raise

So, you have been working hard and think you deserve a raise. How do you ask for that raise? The best way is to have your facts in order. While you work and meet your deadlines, there are other things to consider.

The first consideration is how long you have been in your current job. Unless you have a previous agreement or have been really blowing it out of the water, don't expect a raise (other than annual adjustment) in the first year of the position. Generally, when companies are putting together annual budgets, salaries are a major component. Most create a small cushion for raises, but the key word is small.

The second consideration is how you are performing in comparison with people of the same pay grade or title, or comparable position. Are you really outperforming peers? Often that is hard to judge, as you are probably spending most of your time focused on your responsibilities, and not those of others. What you have to highlight are your achievements and how you are exceeding the expectations of your position.

The third consideration is whether a promotion is a better alternative to just a raise. As stated above, if you well exceeding your current responsibilities, maybe its time to move up. However, moving up may require more education, training, or experience, so it can be tricky.

Finally, you have to consider the business climate. Is the company doing well? Is it meeting its financial targets? Have you read the balance sheet, income statement, or statement of cash flows. If you haven't, you should. If you don't know how, learn!

Once you have these facts together and you can prove a strong case, ask to meet with your manager. Present the data clearly and succinctly. You may want to have a slide or two. Also, be prepared for the answer to be "No" or "Not at this time." In either case, ask for a specific date in the future to readdress the issue. Follow up with a thank you note confirming the date to readdress the issue.

Getting a raise can be very challenging. There is significant emotional risk involved as you may get rejected. If you are prepared with facts and prepared for either outcome, this difficult event can be just that much easier.

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