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Ready For A Raise? Try These 60-Second Tactics

Ready For A Raise? Try These 60-Second Tactics

It’s something we’ve all had to stare down at one point or another. Some of us are great at it, but most of us aren’t. It’s an essential piece of business, though, and one that, with sharpened skills, confidence, and simple tactics, can ensure greater job satisfaction and a more comfortable financial future. What am I talking about? Asking for a raise, of course.

Like it or not, at some point you’re going to be in a position where asking for a raise is essential. Perhaps you’ve been at the same company in the same role for years and it’s time to set your sights on something bigger and better. Maybe your circumstances have changed and you need to get a raise here or go elsewhere. Or maybe you’re simply feeling undervalued in your current organization. Your choices? You can make a play for that raise or you can continue on your current path of discontentment. I know what I’d choose.

So the million-dollar question is how do you position your request? What are the essential steps to cutting through the clutter and making the ask? Equally importantly, how do you ensure that when the chips fall, they’re more likely to fall in your favour? There’s walking in confidently and truly believing in what you’re saying and in the validity of your request. There’s ensuring you’ve paved the way to this moment in time by building strong relationships with your superiors, so when you do make your request, it doesn’t feel awkward or aggressive.

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But you know all that, right? So what happens after you’ve made the decision to make the ask? After you’ve walked through your boss’ door with a value-first mindset and the confidence that comes with it? Tap into one or both of these 60-second persuasion tactics. They may feel uncomfortable at first, but you can do anything for a minute, can’t you? Take a breath and find the one that suits you, along with your relationship to your company and your boss, and have at it. Chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what comes next.

Tactic #1: Go big or go home.

Teenagers are masters of this approach. They want to stay out past curfew, so they aim high—2:00 AM, let’s say. They know their parents will never agree, but they do know what likely comes next: a compromise that gets them a late night out without rocking the parental boat.

It’s a genius strategy in business, but it’s also a bit high-risk. Think about the salary or compensation package you feel you deserve, then increase it. Maybe you double the raise in your mind, or add 20-25% to the top. Then, confidently, make your value-centric case and lob this higher number—and wait. If you’ve truly brought something compelling to the table, your boss won’t immediately reject your request. This will likely lead to some level of negotiation or, at least, some feedback on what can or can’t be done, potentially. While you likely won’t get the big number, you’ll probably land somewhere closer to your true goal and your boss will feel that he’s won, too. What could be better?

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A word of caution: if you’re a high-value employee, this is a perfectly appropriate tactic to try. However, if you’re a bit shakier, this could backfire—you could seem misguided or as if you have a false sense of self-worth. Really understand how you’re seen within the organization and in your boss’ eyes before hopping into this “big ask.” It’s a powerful and highly successful technique, but it’s not for everyone.

Tactic #2: Have options—or at least understand your options.

Going into a salary negotiation with another job offer on the table can be extremely powerful, especially if you’d be happy to take that other post. It’s not just having a backup, it’s everything that mentally and emotionally comes with it. Think about how you feel when you get a job offer: You’ve got confidence. You’ve got swagger. You feel like the king of the world, don’t you? Even if it’s not “The Job,” someone has picked you out of a lineup and determined that you are a high-performing, high-value asset that they would love to have at their organization. How can’t that feel good?

And here’s the interesting thing: when you walk into a salary conversation with this option in your back pocket, you can’t help but carry yourself differently. You likely aren’t as anxious about asking for a raise and, at the same time, have real-world proof that your professional worth is higher than what you’re making now. And, chances are, all of this will come across from the moment you walk through the door, even before you make the ask.

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That said, this shouldn’t be a gun-to-their-head moment. This is still a negotiation and, if you’re having this conversation, it’s likely you’d prefer to stay put—with a higher salary, that is—or would at least entertain the thought. Be respectful, tout your value drivers, but be sure to note that there is another option on the table and that it’s forced you to examine your worth within the organization. People innately have a fear of losing something of value, so much so that we’ll do more to avoid pain than we will to potentially gain pleasure. If you’re a positive force within your organization, your boss’ avoidance trigger will immediately spark and they’ll likely attempt to roadblock your move.

But what if you don’t have another offer? It’s ideal, but not always realistic. So, what do you do? Having options doesn’t have to be about having an offer letter in hand—it’s simply knowing what else is out there and benchmarking yourself accordingly. If you know other people in a similar position are earning more elsewhere, consider that an option. You could apply for a position there or at countless other companies that have similar roles and would readily welcome your talent and expertise. Talk about your value in the overarching industry and the options that exist in the marketplace for a professional like you. There’s no direct acknowledgment of an offer but, instead, an acknowledgement that you’ve done your homework and understand what’s out there. Planting that seed can be powerful—again, it’s the avoidance trigger at play.

Tactic #3?

Do nothing, hoping you’ll be noticed, acknowledged, and elevated to the professional and financial level you feel you’re entitled to. It’s definitely a tactic and one that can work—albeit very rarely. The more likely outcome? You remain stagnant, feeling under-appreciated and undervalued. Eventually, those feelings seep into your day-to-day, negatively impacting your work, your social interactions, and your results. Your productivity dips, your discontent grows, and you fail to deliver the same level of value you produced just a few weeks or months ago. And without that tangible worth, if and when you do decide to ask for a raise, chances aren’t in your favor as you’ve lost your “high-value” bargaining chip.

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No matter your industry or role, eventually the raise conversation needs to happen—and rightfully so. Focus on the value you bring to a company, build strong relationships, and understand your worth within the organization and outside of its walls. Go into your negotiation ready to make the ask and confident that you’re worth it. Don’t be afraid to go big or to exercise your options. See where the chips fall. If you leverage these tactics, more often than not they’ll land in your favour.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay 2016 via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on February 19, 2020

11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

Are you looking to move up the career ladder? Or maybe you’re tired of having a “job” and want to start looking for a more permanent career?

Whatever your motivation, you are going to have to learn some new and different hard skills to broaden your opportunities. After all, there’s a very famous quote that says:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

While the insanity part doesn’t really fit here, the overall message is a good one. If you are looking for a different result (career advancement, more money or even a career instead of a job), it’s up to you to make it happen. This is both the good news and bad news!

The good news is that because it’s up to you, you have complete control over it happening. The bad news is that change is hard. Humans are creatures of habit, that’s why we develop routines, and anything that disrupts that routine causes us anxiety. And we will do almost anything to get rid of that anxiety. The overweight person will calm their anxiety by eating that doughnut, the smoker will light up a cigarette to avoid anxiety.

What we want to do with this article is to give you the hard skills you’ll need to reduce that anxiety so you can move up that corporate ladder, make more money or have career instead of just a “job.”

The following hard skills are essential to learn if you want to advance your career. They may not be easy to take up, but definitely worth your effort of learning:

1. Cloud Computing

“Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more—over the Internet “the cloud” to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.” Microsoft[1]

There are many different jobs available in the cloud computing world today. They range from architects and developers to data scientists, security pros. Each job is its own specialty and requires a high level of specification for advancement.

This is definitely a hard skill that requires education. But if the tech world and computers are your thing you can make cloud computing a lucrative career.

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2. Data Mining and Statistical Analysis

Again, these are highly specialized fields. Data mining is defined as using large sets of data to look for anomalies and other patterns that can be used to predict future behavior.

Amazon is probably the best known company to use data mining. Have you ever noticed that when you buy something at Amazon, you’ll see a little ad at the bottom that says “customers who bought this also bought…”and it lists 2-3 other items? All of that information comes from data mining, by examining the millions of sales amazon makes they can predict that if you buy item #1 there is a high likelihood that you will buy one of the other items too. T

his not only increases sales for Amazon, but it also serves as a reminder for you that you may need these additional items for your project. This is very valuable information and has a wide range of uses. Although it has a bad reputation and evil sounding name, it is a very useful tool for maximizing productivity and sales.

3. Data Management

All companies today deal with a ton of data! Being able to manage that data in an efficient manor is not only highly prized, but a necessity.

We all have these things on our desks called computers. Unless there is a need for a paper copy, almost all of our data is computerized. Meaning that, in theory it is all at our fingertips. Being able to organize that data so that it’s easily and quickly retrievable is why computers are replacing filing cabinets!

However, just like the old fashion filing cabinet, data management on a computer is only good if it’s well organized. You want to make sure that you are keeping your data well organized so that it’s easy to find when needed. This is a skill that comes easily to some people (are you a person that makes lists? Good!) but with others it will be a skill that needs to be practices. Make sure that this is a discipline you master.

4. Scheduling

Being able to make and keep to a schedule is a very useful tool in both business and life. Effective scheduling means that you can prioritize projects, understand the tools needed to get the job done on time and that you are organized enough to lead people.

An important point here is to write things down! Whether it’s in an old fashion daily or weekly organizer or in a PDA. Have a copy of your schedule available at your fingertips at all times.

5. Financial Skills

These are especially important when looking for that promotion. The higher up the ladder you go, the more you’ll have to deal with things like accounting, budgeting, financial planning and cash flow management.

While you may not need to be an expert at all of these, you should have a good grasp of all of them. This is where taking a few night classes at your local community college is a good idea. You don’t need to become an expert, but brushing up on these skills will help you tremendously.

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6. Research Skills

These are important in all aspects of life, but especially in your work-life.

Are you looking for that first job out of school? Nothing impresses a boss or hiring manager more than someone who has researched the company. Trust me, they deal with people walking in off the street everyday looking for a job, but managers and owners need to see the value in hiring (or promoting) you.

So do your research and have some company specific questions ready to ask. Show that you are interested in working for that company or that position and not just “a” job or the “promotion” because you have seniority or need the money.

If it’s a promotion that you are after, never bad mouth the previous occupant. Instead pick out an example that he/she was good at and explain how you would like to use or expand that policy and how it would enhance the policy changes you’d like to make.

If it’s a new job you’re going for, then make sure to have some company specific questions ready to show that you have done your homework for the new position.

7. Marketing Skills

While marketing a companies products or services has always been a highly sought after skill. In today’s world, it can take on several different forms.

Some of the marketing skills that are highly sought after today include, SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEM, Search Engine Marketing and marketing campaign management. Familiarity with Google Analytics as well as Word Press are also valuable.

While traditional marketing and branding were focused on advertising and selling. Almost all marketing efforts now a days are focused on the internet.

8. Network Security Specialist

Again, this is a highly skilled position that requires specialized training. But the amount of data that all companies store is significant, and if that data is leaked or stolen, it can costs them millions of dollars in both lost revenue and lawsuits.

So, if you have an interest in network security you will find the field both lucrative and stable.

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9. Communication Skills

At first glance, communication skills may not look like it fits into the category of “Hard Skills” that can help you succeed. But in this ever shrinking world where companies can do business from almost anywhere, communication is more and more important.

Are you bilingual? It really doesn’t matter what language you speak, there’s a company out there looking for someone who speaks that language.

10. Computer Programming

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that computers are going to be around for a while! As both the hardware and software get more advanced, the need for computer programming is only going to increase.

11. Graphic Design

As of 2018, there were 4.37 million new websites launched.[2] A good number of them will fail because they just aren’t interesting enough visually. The use of templates and replicated websites is only making the problem worse.

Part of the way Google ranks sites is through originality, this almost ensures that replicated sites will never get ranked through Google. So the more original your site is, the more likely people will visit and actually spend time there.

That is what a good graphic designer does. Takes your basic idea and turns it into a website that people actually want to visit.

Embrace the Anxiety That Comes with Change

You know it’s going to be there, you know that you’ll want to give up as you’re learning these new skills but, you’ll also know that the end result is worth the journey.

Here’s a little trick when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

Have you ever met an ex-smoker who was sorry they quit? An ex-drinker or drug user that said life was much better before they quit? These people have gone through some of the most difficult challenges humans can go through including weeks, if not, months of intense physical withdrawal symptoms. They did it because they knew that the pain and anxiety they would experience would ultimately get them to a much better life.

Now what was that complaint you had about attending night-school?

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This is the part everyone hates, everyone thinks night-school, adult education and just generally giving up family and/or spare time. While those are certainly possible ways to develop the necessary skills, they aren’t the only way.

You’ll want to check with your human resources department because depending on the company, a certain degree maybe required in order to even be considered for a position. In those cases, night-school, on-line or some other form of adult education maybe your best route.

But as long as a degree isn’t required, then your options are wide open.

Let’s just say that you’re a sales person interested in becoming the sales manager but, the territory you’ve been given will never produce the sales figures that would make you stand out as a good candidate for sales manager. So how about you start your own side business (don’t compete with your company), but let’s say you enjoy golf.

In this day and age, there are plenty of places that will teach you how to sell products on-line and even set you up with your own website. So you start a site selling golf equipment and accessories (don’t worry, you won’t even have to carry inventory or worry about shipping).

Now, when that sales manager spot opens up, you can explain that even though other salespeople had better numbers than you, it had nothing to do with your sales ability, it was more of a consequence of the territory your were given.

And to prove it, you brought in some information about a side business, you started showing that you’re on target for a sales growth rate of 30% this year. And because you had to do all of the marketing for the business, you came up with some marketing strategies that you can bring to the new job (built-in experience).

The Bottom Line

We’ve put together these 11 hard skills as a way to give yourself a “leg up” on the competition. We’ve tried to make this a mixture of both skills that require a great deal of training, and also ones that you can work on and develop by yourself.

We know that not everyone is cut out to be a cloud computing expert, but we also know that working on and having good scheduling skills will make you a much more desirable candidate for the position!

We also don’t want you to discount the idea of a “side hustle“. Especially for people new to the workforce, having a business that you have started and run successfully shows potential employers that you have initiative, scheduling skills and ambition which can put you well ahead of your competition!

As usual, we hope you found this article both enjoyable and informative. If you did, may we ask that you share it with your family and friends through social media. It really does help us and is greatly appreciated!

More Skill to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Kyle Sterk via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Microsoft Azure: Cloud Computing
[2] Netcraft: December 2018 Web Server Survey

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