If you plan on asking for a raise, it’s absolutely vital that you prepare for the conversation.
“The first rule is to be organised,” says Jacqueline Whitmore, an international etiquette expert and author of “Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals.”
“Have all of your facts and figures in order and be prepared to explain why you deserve a raise,” she says. “Come prepared with a list of your yearly accomplishments, such as big projects you have completed, statistics and results of those projects, and how you saved the company money or increased the company’s bottom line.”
The reality is that while the best performers do stand out from the crowd, your manager has a lot on their plate and may not remember everything you’ve done for the company, she explains.
When it’s time to ask for more money, consider these five questions:
1. Is this the right time?
Timing is everything.
The best time to ask for a raise is three to four months before your annual review. That’s when most budgets are being decided. “You may also request a raise when you have been asked to take on additional responsibilities that do not fall under your job description,” says Whitmore. “Try to approach your boss when business is flourishing if at all possible, not following a company layoff or right after a few clients end their relationship with the company.”
2. What am I worth?
Do your research to find out how much others in your industry or job position are making. “Use this data to request a certain sum or a percentage,” she suggests. Average salaries for most professions can be found on various websites, like Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, or Payscale.com, or through a professional industry organisation.
If you’re already making the average, but think you deserve more because of the value you add, certain accomplishments you’ve achieved, special training you’ve completed, etc., express that to your boss.
3. What will I do or say if they can’t give me more money?
If your employer cannot meet the dollar amount requested, be prepared to negotiate for benefits, instead. “For example, you can ask for additional personal days per year or the ability to work from home and telecommute one day per week,” Whitmore explains. “If you don’t get the amount you want, reply with, ‘What would it take for me to earn a better raise in the future?’ That way you’ll know exactly what your boss expects of you.”
4. Is this worth burning bridges over?
Be polite and diplomatic. “If you do not get the raise, don’t get angry and threaten to leave the company, even if you think you might do so,” she advises. “It’s best not to burn any bridges just in case you transfer to another department or get a better offer from another company and need a letter of recommendation.”
5. Do other people really need to know about this?
No, they most likely don’t. Asking for a raise is a private matter and should not be shared with all of your coworkers. “As the saying goes, ‘Loose lips sink ships.’ Don’t jeopardize your chances of getting a higher salary by telling everyone you know how little you make or how much you think you should be making,” says Whitmore.
Gossip travels quickly, even amongst people who promise they “won’t tell anyone else.” “While it would be appropriate to tell your friends and family that you got a promotion, dollar figures should only be discussed with a spouse or partner and your accountant.”
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