ABZAt some point in your career, you will need to ask for a raise.

Sure, sometimes you may be handed one without asking, but more likely than not it’s going to be up to you. It’s a big deal –how you do it can make or break your chances of success.

So what should (and shouldn’t) you do?

1.     Ask for a meeting with your boss/manager and be prepared.
One of the worst things you can do is spring this on your boss. You will have better results if you schedule a meeting and let him know what it’s about. Bring your accomplishments with you, yes, on actual paper. Think of it as a mini interview where you can share your accomplishments, successes and how you benefit the company. This is a time to brag, but do it factually. If you are bold enough to ask for a raise, you should be bold enough to let anyone know why you deserve it.

2.     Know your facts.
Before this meeting, and even before you schedule it, do some research. Look around online and find what others in your field are making. Remember, geographic area and company size will have something to do with salaries, but you can get a good ballpark figure. Don’t ask for something that is way out of the practical range. Mention when you last received a raise, if you have, and how your own value has increased since then.

3.     Stay away from comparisons and cost of living.
One of the big don’ts is to compare yourself to others at the company. For one, salaries are personal and it doesn’t really matter what others are making, it matters what you are making. Secondly, your raise is about you, your value and your contributions to the company, not a comparison of others.

Another thing to leave out is the cost of living increase. Everyone is hit by it and is aware of it. You want a raise to make more money because your company highly values you, not to keep up with the cost of living.

4.     Leave out the ultimatums and bluffing.
It’s not a good idea to threaten to leave if you don’t get the raise, and it’s not a good idea to tell your manager that you’re looking at a higher paying position (whether it’s true or not). Even if they meet your demands, your head is now on the chopping block. Instead of deciding how to accept payments from your current employer (check or direct deposit), you may be deciding on how to find a new job if you push too hard in attempting to get that raise.

5.     Consider timing – both yours and the company’s.
Think about how long you’ve been at this company. If it’s just a short time, wait on that raise. If you feel you’ve put in longevity and can back it up – go for it. Also, take into consideration what’s going on within the company. Are people getting let go or salaries being cut? If so, it’s not a good idea to ask now. Put it on the back burner until things settle, and you may have even more reason to ask soon if you are taking up more work.

Preparation and facts are going to be your friends when asking for a raise. Be ready to state your case without threats.

Let your company know how happy you are working here and all the successes you’ve had. You may be surprised on how well this goes…

Photo credit: thegrindstone.com

Please add your comments here if you’ve had successes (or not) when asking for a raise.