There is a certain taboo around talking about money, and this is especially true when it comes to discussing salaries at work. It’s seen as improper to discuss how much you’re paid with your colleagues, and most people feel awkward about raising the issue with their manager. For most, this means that we never really learned how to ask for a raise at work.
Asking for a raise at work is one of the most nerve-wracking conversations you ever have to do. Not only is the pressure on you to try to get the biggest raise you can, but it also involves confrontation and selling yourself – two things that most people find very stressful.
However, no matter how daunting “the ask” feels, it’s important to value your worth and ask to be compensated justly for it.
Lay the Groundwork
Two keys to asking for a raise are timing and preparation. Paying attention to these factors in advance will go a long way to determine how the conversation goes. Before diving in and asking for a raise, take stock of the mood, setting, and environment.
Instead of jumping on your supervisor when they may be stressed or distracted, schedule a meeting with them in advance and give them an idea of what you want to discuss. This should mean you have the space to make your case and your manager will be in a position to make an informed decision. This way, the setting will be professional and you will be able to pitch your raise in a more convincing way.
Research Salary Trends
You may know that you deserve a raise, but you’re probably unsure about how much is appropriate to ask for. Feeling uncertain about this may mean you pitch too low and ask for less than you deserve.
Every role has its own market value within a certain range. Research the average salary of people with your experience, skills, and qualifications. This will mean you know where you stand in the market and help you to make a stronger claim.
Of course, the average salary bracket is not the whole picture: make a list of your achievements and qualifications, and any special skills you have acquired during your tenure that add value to your performance. This will allow you to make a more compelling case.
Prepare What You Will Say
For any type of negotiation, it’s important to prepare well beforehand, especially if you’re feeling anxious. Nerves can get the best of any of us, and in these situations, it’s easy to fumble our words or forget what we wanted to say.
It can be helpful to jot down the key points, or even draft a full script. Write out an outline that includes all points that you want to discuss, along with your supporting evidence. If you’re feeling really nervous, you can even rehearse your script in the mirror or role-play with a friend or colleague.
Be Ready for Questions
You should expect your supervisor to ask follow-up questions and inquire about your recent work performance or any achievements you have mentioned. Think about how you’ll respond to these, as well as professionally address any concerns or criticism they may have.
You should also be prepared for a compromise because, in a negotiation, you may need to settle on the middle ground. Don’t be intimidated and try to settle for something you feel is fair.
Don’t let the pressure overwhelm you. Remember, you have all the supporting evidence you need to make your case that you deserve a raise. Preparation is important, but how you carry yourself can make a difference, so hold your head high and be confident.
If you don’t feel confident, now is the time to “fake it til you make it”. Lift your chest, roll your shoulders back, take a deep breath, and exude confidence, even if you feel the opposite on the inside.
Thank Your Supervisor
No matter how the conversation goes, it’s important to thank your superior for their time and consideration. Be polite and don’t ruin your professional career by being rude and impolite.
If things don’t go according to plan, this may be the time to reevaluate your position and consider changing roles. You can also consider going back to study to strengthen your position.
Put Yourself in the Strongest Position to Ask for a Raise
It’s important to know your worth and be proactive in asking for a raise. Very few things are handed to us in life – we need to be proactive in pursuing what we want. At the same time, the workplace is more competitive than ever, and if you need to stand out from your peers by demonstrating you have the valuable skills, experience, and motivation which deserve high-level compensation.
One of the best ways to do this is through ongoing education. Going back to study not only allows you to update your skills and gain a recognised qualification, but it shows your employer that you’re driven and want to further your career.