Just Try It: Ask for a Raise

Just Try It: Ask for a Raise

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010708CAREER.jpgCheese, Lincoln’s, green backs — it’s what makes the world go round. We all need money to live, and most of us want more of it. With rising prices on everything from milk to gas, your paycheck just doesn’t seem to go as far these days. Then again, you might just deserve a little more loot for all the hard work you have done lately.

Whatever your situation may be, there comes a time when we have to ask a question harder than a marriage proposal—“May I have a raise?” Before you start to clam up and bail out, find out how to prepare yourself for the big moment and make your request.

Do Your Homework

The first thing to do when thinking of asking for a raise is to do some research. Think of it like you’re buying a new car. You want to prepare yourself for bartering and know when, or if, a deal can be made. Before you pitch your idea, warm up for the game first.

There are two extremely vital things you should do before you even think about walking into your supervisor’s office:
The first thing you should do is find out your company’s policy on raises. An array of businesses is going to company wide percentage raises. With a cost of living raise, a company might increase everyone’s salaries annually by a calculated percentage, and then perhaps throw on another percentage for “merit”. Others only give raises upon promotions, while others follow annual reviews. Know your company’s pay structure, as well as its policy on raise eligibility.

Find out more about the market for your job here in Cincinnati. Monster.com has a great salary wizard tool where you can compare pay ranges, benefits and more for the local market. You can find other salary calculators online, or check out the U.S. Census Bureau for oodles of information. Read the local papers, network at area functions, or even attend job fairs. If you are serious about getting the raise you want, it is important to get the facts.

Prove It
An employer is very cautious with where and to what their money goes. When asking for a raise, you should be able to prove to your supervisor that you are worthy of receiving more of the company’s money.

Try taking an inventory of yourself. Write down all of your tasks (noting any that you picked up), accomplishments, as well as your attendance. Don’t forget any errors you have made or mistakes that cost the company money. This is challenging to be critical of yourself, but being prepared for any rebuttals from the boss will keep you focused and your eyes on the prize.

If you are requesting the raise because you have streamlined processes, saved the company money, or have completed multiple tasks that benefit the business, bring that information to the table. If you have decreased costs or increased sales, document and present the figures. Sell yourself as if you were interviewing all over again—show them you are worthy of earning more and have the proof in front of you.

Five Easy Things to Remember

  1. Know what you want or need before discussing the matter with the appropriate person. Have a dollar amount you would like in mind, as well an amount you need should bargaining take place.
  2. Observe your behavior and make necessary changes well before your request. Supervisors often remember the last 30 days and use the most recent happenings as grounds for their decision.
  3. Ask at an appropriate time. Avoid making requests during the holidays, month/year end, or at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon (or first thing Monday morning for that matter). Tricky, perhaps, but try catching your boss when they are fresh and in a pleasant mood.
  4. DO NOT threaten to quit! In rare circumstances does this ever work and is incredibly unprofessional. It’s the grown-up version of a temper tantrum. Saying such a phrase can be taken seriously, and you might end up walking out without your raise or your job.
  5. Don’t be discouraged if your request is denied. Raises might not be in the current budget, or perhaps there other plans you don’t know about. Patiently ask what you can do for a different outcome later, and then follow through on suggested tasks.

Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
Models: (left) JoAnna Straughn-Moxley, LMT, Symmetry Nutritional Consultant and (right) Katherine Janszen
Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics