“Please Sir, can I have some more?”
Unless you’re a secret millionaire or just love what you do, money is the single biggest reason why we go to work. But it’s amazing how the thought of asking for higher pay can suddenly make us as awkward as Oliver Twist pleading for extra gruel in the workhouse.
Asking for a raise can be a scary scenario for even the most confident worker, but the secret is being prepared, making a good case, and making it as difficult as possible for your boss to turn you down.
Read on as we share the best strategies for securing a salary increase.
- Get ahead of the game
If you want to negotiate a significant pay increase then planning up to several months ahead is a good idea.
Take stock and start listing all the ways in which you have made a big contribution, have taken on extra responsibilities, improved your skills via training, or have gone the extra mile somehow.
This is where planning ahead helps because if you find this evidence is thin on the ground then start looking to be more proactive in this area. Many bosses don’t consider the length of service a good enough reason to get a raise if you have just clocked in on time and done the minimum. When you come across workers who seem to get a raise without even asking, it’s usually because they have made themselves invaluable and their bosses realize and worry that they’ll leave. Take a look at whether this is you. If you need to do a little bit more to prove yourself in this area or make your boss aware of all the good you’ve been doing, this is the time to prepare.
Notes, goals and to-do’s planner
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One caveat on planning ahead: although you shouldn’t ask during a particularly busy or stressful period, don’t use forward planning as an excuse to try and find a ‘perfect’ time to ask for a raise; perfect timing simply doesn’t exist.
- Aim high
Research salaries for your type of job and get a benchmark for what’s the right figure, but it’s also good to aim high, whilst still being realistic.
You will probably need to negotiate, so always plan to ask for more than you would be happy getting.
- Reasons why
A raise should be based on your performance at work, but if you’re planning on applying for a mortgage, are paying your way through college, or have other major life events to consider then those are important reasons for needing more cash, and your employer should respect that.
Beware, this can work against you if you choose something that’s considered frivolous; so if your ‘why’ is saving for a new designer purse, don’t say this.
If those kinds of major reasons don’t apply to you then you just need to emphasize your contribution and responsibilities more.
- Put it in writing
It’s important to ask in writing so that you can word your request exactly the way you want to and the request is formally recorded, even if you’re usually more confident face to face. Don’t use emotion in your request, communicate with facts and information to build a case.
Be polite and positive: This is important, even if you feel you are underpaid and under-appreciated at the moment. If you make an effort to put a positive spin on things, you’re far more likely to get what you want.