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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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Ready For A Raise? Try These 60-Second Tactics

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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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