How to Get a Raise

If the high price of gas and groceries is getting you down, you may feel like it’s time to ask your boss for a raise. If not handled properly, however, your request may backfire and lead to tension between the two of you. Here are a few things that will increase your odds of success:

  • Go the extra mile. Before you even think about asking for higher pay, evaluate your recent work performance. Will your boss perceive it as raise-worthy? If you are doing sloppy work or simply putting in the very minimum required of you, don’t expect your boss to respond generously. Try putting in some extra hours for a while before you approach the head honchos for a bump in pay.
  • Do your research. A simple web search can tell you the average salary for someone in your field. Be sure to search by area. A web developer in New York City will have to make far more than a web developer in Springfield, Illinois, simply based on the cost of living. If possible, try to discreetly find out what your co-workers are making. In some instances, you may find others are making far more for doing the same job, which can help boost your confidence as you approach your boss.
  • Take on more responsibility. If you want to advance in pay, you may have to advance in the role you play in day-to-day operations. Consider offering to learn more about the business. Once you’ve worked in this enhanced role for a set period of time, you’ll have more negotiating power.
  • Prepare to negotiate. Remember, the first rule of negotiating is to never give something up without getting something in return. If your boss asks how much you want to make, you may want to add a little cushion, since his counteroffer will likely be lower. You can also agree to a lower salary in exchange for more personal days or paid training. Since you likely won’t be able to ask for more money for a while, it’s important to get what you want the first time.

Don’t forget that these are tough economic times. If your company is struggling financially, it’s probably far better to wait until things stabilize to ask for a raise…or move to a company that stands on better financial ground.

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