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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

The Savvy Employees Guide to Asking for a Raise

The Savvy Employees Guide to Asking for a Raise

“I know that if I work harder, my boss will notice and give me a raise.”

That’s what you tell yourself as you leave the office at 7 pm five days a week.

But, will your boss notice?

He might, but this will be a slow and painful process.

Most companies won’t go out of their way to notice great employees. It’s up to you to toot your own horn the right way.

I hate to break it to you. But, if you’ve worked at your position for over a year without a raise, you’re doing something wrong. Don’t worry, I’ve failed in the past and still continue to do so. Plus, asking for a raise isn’t easy.

It wasn’t that long ago when I was fresh out of college and clueless to how I’d negotiate my salary. Fortunately, I’d adopted habits that helped me get a raise. And, if these tactics have worked for me, I’m confident they’ll work for you too.

Ready to start making big bucks? If so, here’s your guide on how to ask for the raise you deserve.

1. Prepare Before Asking for a Raise

You’re feeling pumped. You’ve worked hard for over a year and know that you deserve a raise.

But, before you march into your boss’s office (or cubicle) do your homework. By this, I’m referring to doing some research on what your average salary is for your role.

Don’t overdo this–all you need is a ballpark estimate to what the average salary is in your industry. Go to sites like Glassdoor, Salary, and Payscale to get this information. Then type in your role or company name in their search bar.

Within a few minutes, you’ll have a rough idea for what you should be getting paid.

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Take a note for how big the gap is from the average salary and what you’re currently earning. If your salary is on the lower end, don’t worry, use this as your motivation to get paid better.

Be honest with yourself for what skills you’re offering to your employer. If you’re falling behind in any area, read a book or take a course to improve. Another option is to ask your boss for extra work to gain more experience.

Make it your priority to improve, so that you stay sharp with your skills.

2. Know the Value You Bring

If you’ve never negotiated your salary, I’m betting that it’ll be at the lower end of the industry average.

I know how frustrating this is because I’ve been there. I’d envy others who were getting paid more than I was–especially since I was working hard. But, having this type of mindset won’t do you any good.

If you’re unhappy with your current salary, it’s because you don’t know your worth. So, before you ask your boss for your raise, be clear on what value you bring to your employer.

To know where you stand, write down the relevant skills you bring to your team. For example, as a web designer, a valuable skill can be creating great logos. Write a list of 5 to 10 similar skills that can help you stand out.

Also, research what top skills are in demand for your current job and make improvements here. When you’re valuable, people will take notice. More importantly, knowing you’re valuable will help you negotiate your salary better.

3. Earn a Meeting with Your Boss

Do you get the “chills” randomly walking to your boss and asking for a raise?

You should because that’s a bad way to ask for something. Would you reach out to someone you’d met at a conference 6 months ago and out of the blue ask for a favor? I hope not.

They’d most likely turn you down. That’s because you haven’t earned the right to ask for a favor. Like this scenario, don’t randomly walk up to your boss asking for a raise.

Instead, work your way up. Ask your boss how he/she thinks you’re performing a few times each month. Then ask what’s needed for you to get a raise.

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Repeat this process until you’re confident with how to get a raise. This will put you in your boss’s mind when it’s time to give a raise.

4. Create Your Perfect Timing

Have you ever watched a movie where the character knew the perfect time to do something?

Take love stories for example, when the man knows the perfect time to ask a woman out. You hear the right music on the background during the perfect night. The reality is that in life, perfect times rarely exist.

This doesn’t mean that you should walk up to your boss tomorrow and ask for raise. Instead, be aware that the only perfect time that’ll exist is when you do your best to prepare.

Do some planning around where you’d ask your boss. If he/she travels a lot during certain months, avoid asking during this time. Pick a day and time that you know your boss will have the most availability.

Add a meeting to the calendar with your boss to discuss your promotion. This way you’ll avoid rushing and increase your odds at getting heard.

5. Increase Your Odds at Success Thinking like Your Boss

Knowing your customer doesn’t only apply for salespeople. The same concept applies to you–except think of your boss as your customer.

By doing this, you can expect what he/she will say to you. Then you can prepare for possible outcomes.

If your boss were to ask you why you deserve a raise, you wouldn’t fumble. You’d summarize 2 to 3 key points without hesitation.

Think of your top three possible scenarios based on what you know about your boss. Then record yourself discussing your top 3 scenarios.

6. Figure out Your Company’s Policies

Waiting each year for your raise is a huge mistake.

In case you’re wondering why–not all companies have the same policies for getting a raise. Some do a performance review on an annual basis, while others do so on a quarterly or semi-annual. To familiarize yourself with your company’s policies, check out their HR web portal.

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If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for, call your company’s HR department. Your goal should be to determine what’s the required timeframe to ask for a raise. Once you know this timeframe, you can prepare for the ask.

7. Level-Up Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a skill you need to master.

Why?

The last thing you’d want to do is getting upset if you don’t end up getting the raise you’d hope for. This would only make your situation awkward and less likely to get a future promotion.

Mastering your emotions allows you to collaborate with others better–increasing your odds for success.

Daniel Goleman argues in his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ that emotional intelligence is as important as your IQ. Research shows that people who manage their emotions better perform better at school. Emotionally intelligent people are socially skilled, able to empathize with others better.

Improving your emotional intelligence isn’t easy. But, changing the way you perceive failure and manage stress will help you improve.

To take failure less personal, view it as a learning opportunity. This will help you learn from your mistakes and avoid making them twice.

To better manage your stress, start meditating.

I bet that you’re thinking meditation isn’t for you. After all, you’re not a monk who sits quietly in a room for hours. Meditation isn’t only for the selected few–it’s for everyone.

Even if you don’t know how to meditate, you can learn from apps or online videos. By practicing meditation enough you’ll eventually reap its benefits. Here’s a 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime.

8. Don’t Take Rejection Personally

You can be as prepared as possible and still fail. But, don’t take it personally.

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Often it’s because your company doesn’t have the budget to do so. While you can’t expect the unexpected, you can prepare for it. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you run off to your manager asking for a promotion:

  • How long can I hold off if I get rejected for a promotion?
  • How has my company been performing in the past year?
  • Do I deserve a promotion?

If you get rejected for a promotion, ask to revisit your performance within 3 to 6 months. Be sure to get details on what’s required to earn a promotion so that you can work towards it.

The worst case scenario is that your company isn’t willing to give you a promotion. If this is your scenario, find a way to escape this environment.

Bonus Tips

If you’re looking for extra tips to ask for a raise, this is a nice infographic to go through:[1]

    Get Paid the Money You Deserve

    Imagine waking up each morning excited to perform your best at your job.

    Your role didn’t change but for the first time, you felt heard by your manager. After 6 months of working hard, you got the raise you’d hoped for. The best part is that you didn’t have to stay in the office till 7 pm to earn it.

    I know you wish that this scenario was your reality. It wasn’t that long ago when I was earning a low salary and afraid to ask for what I deserved. But, after trial and error, I managed to get many raises and switch careers.

    Why am I telling you this? Because if I was able to get my raise, so can you. You’ll need to work harder than most people and make sacrifices along the way, but it’ll be worth the effort.

    Except for this time, you’ll be working hard in the right areas. Think of this post as your mini-blueprint to getting the raise you deserve. Be honest with yourself and focus on improving in the areas you’re weakest. Before you know it, one day you’ll wake up working in a job you love getting paid what you deserve.

    More Tips on Asking for a Raise and Promotion

    Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Christopher Alarcon

    Finance Analyst and Founder of the Financially Well Off Blog & Podcast

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

    Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

    Have you ever caught yourself in a daydream where you’ve gone for that upcoming promotion, and you’re now the boss at work? Or how about the one where you’ve summoned up all your courage to quit a job where you’re feeling stuck in your career and live your dream instead? Or when you’ve changed career paths to do what really makes you happy?

    Then, you snapped back to reality and realized that you’re not the boss, not living your dream, and not even happy in the career path that you’re on.

    Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals who’ve told me they feel stuck in their careers, that something had to change for them to break free and be happy, but they lacked the confidence to take that step. My mission is to make sure that nobody feels stuck in their career because of a momentary lapse in bravery that’s dragged on for too long.

    Read on to find out how you can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work. .

    Here are my top ten tips for becoming unstuck in your career.

    1. Make Time for You

    If you’re feeling stuck, frustrated, or unhappy with how your career is panning out, the first step is to work out why.

    Maybe you’ve arrived in your current career by accident and haven’t ever made time to deliberately think or plan what you’d love to do and how you’d get there.

    Prioritizing time to think is the first step you need to take to stop feeling stuck and start getting ahead. Book some time into your day where you can have an uninterrupted meeting with yourself. This is your thinking time.

    Work out what makes you happy at work, what doesn’t, and where you might want to go. Decide on the steps you want to take to progress your career in the direction that you want it to take.

    For example, are there training days, evening courses, or online learning that you can do? Have you considered getting a mentor to help you get ahead?

    By booking in a meeting with yourself, it signals it’s important (to you and your colleagues) and also stops others spotting a gap in your day and filling it with a meeting.

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    2. Grow Your Network Before You Need It

    Who you know is more important than what you know for career progression. Don’t wait until you’re feeling stuck in your career to start expanding your networks. Do it now.

    Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take, says you’re 58% more likely to get a new job through your weak ties than through your strong ones. Your strong ties are those in your immediate circle whom you interact with often. Your weak ties are your friends of friends. They move in different circles to you, they know different people, make different connections, and are more likely to introduce you to new and different opportunities[1].

    When I was thinking about setting up my current company, Lucidity, I turned up to every networking event. I drank a lot of coffees with a lot of different people to understand what they did, to ask for advice, to unpick what their problems were, and to look for opportunities for collaboration and connections.

    It paid off because, when I launched my business, I let my network know how I could help them, and soon I had my first clients.

    Pay attention to building and nurturing your networks and focus on how you can add value to other. That’s where your next career opportunity is most likely to come from.

    3. Surround Yourself With People Who Inspire You

    According to Tim Ferriss, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with,” and his associations with different people ebbs and flows depending on what he’s working on and trying to achieve[2].

    For example, if you are trying to be fitter, it’s easier if you hang around with people who love doing exercise–they help you to up your game.

    If you want that promotion, a career change, or to set up your own business, seek out people who are excelling at it already. They’ll have valuable things to teach you about breaking free and getting ahead.

    4. Work on Your Personal Brand

    Jeff Bezos defines a personal brand as “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” People will talk about you when you are not in the room anyway, so you might as well be deliberate about what you’d like people to say!

    Your personal brand isn’t about pretending to be something you’re not. That can actually keep you feeling stuck in your career. It’s really about being your best “real you.” It’s about owning your strengths and being purposeful about how you want to be perceived by others.

    What do you want to be known for? By being more deliberate about how you want to come across and what you’re looking for in your career, you’ll increase your chance of attracting the right opportunities.

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    Once you’ve given your personal brand some thought, make sure that you show up online. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? And if you don’t have one, get one. Make sure it communicates what you want to be known for and that it’s consistent with your other social media profiles.

    Try these 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding.

    5. Be Accountable

    Achieve your career goals faster, and grow and learn by making yourself accountable. Tell other people your goals and a timeline. and have them to hold you accountable.

    For example, you might want to get a promotion by the end of the year, have decided the sector you want to move to by the end of the month, or have got your new business idea before the next pay day. Whatever your ambitions are, you can tell a friend or a colleague, or share this with a mentor or a mastermind group.

    When we tell other people our goals and intentions, they hold us accountable, and we are more likely to make progress faster.

    6. Make Sure Your Values Are Aligned With Your Company’s

    All the professional development, goal setting, and networks in the world won’t make you happy if you’re working for a company that ultimately has opposing values to yours.

    Figure out what’s important to you in a job. For example, does your company’s product help people live a better life? Do you feel strongly about your company’s ethics and social responsibility? Does the company culture allows employees to be themselves and shine? Or maybe flexible working and more holidays for employees with families is where your heart is?

    Some companies put their employees well-being at the core of their business; others put profits first. If you feel that your values don’t match the core values of your employer, it could be a reason why you’re feeling stuck in your career and unhappy.

    It’s important to work through this and identify whether it’s the job that is not right for you, or if it’s a great job but the organization or sector is wrong for you.

    7. Get out of Your Comfort Zone

    Your comfort zone is your safe place. For any change to happen, you have to step out of your comfort zone.

    It’s actually much easier not to change anything and to keep grumbling on about how you’re stuck and unhappy in your career than to step outside of your comfort zone to address the fearful unknowns associated with change. It’s part of human nature that we’d put up with the devil we know rather than risk the devil we don’t.

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    This is true even if the devil we know is a boring, unfulfilling job because we’re wired to think that making a change to find a better option might actually leave us worse off.

    If you feel stuck, it might be that your confidence has got the better of you.

    To get ahead at work, start taking small steps outside of your comfort zone. Consider what you’re scared of that is stopping you from making a change. Then, tackle that in small steps.

    For example, if you know that to move into the job you want, you’ll have to do more public speaking, but public speaking terrifies you so much it’s stopping you from going for the job, then start small to build your confidence. You can speak up more in team meetings, then slowly build from there.

    You might also choose to set up or be part of a specific group. One of my clients, who found that confidence was holding her team back in achieving work goals, set up a “get out of your comfort zone club,” where they challenge and support each other to build their confidence by regularly leaving their comfort zones.

    8. Learn to Embrace Failure

    Failure is part of life. A New York University study found that children learning to walk averaged 2,368 steps and fell 17 times an hour[3]. Failure is simply the natural path to success.

    The truth is that we don’t get everything right the first time. We fail, we learn, we pick ourselves up, and we try again.

    In my experience, it’s common that whilst the theory of learning from failure is supported, the reality of being open about failures to enable personal learning is much harder to achieve.

    We don’t like to admit that we’ve failed. We have a fight or flight response to failure. It’s a normal gut reaction to ask ourselves: “Will I get away with it if I don’t tell anyone?” We are fearful of criticism, of losing face in front of others, or even being fired for failure.

    However, if you’re going to stop feeling stuck in your career, you must be open to learning from failure.

    Reframe failure by viewing everything as an experiment because you can’t have a failed experiment—you just learn whether something works or not. Think of Edison inventing the lightbulb, when he said:

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    “I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

    9. Build Your Resilience

    Resilience is the ability to tackle difficulties and setbacks, to bounce back, regroup, and to keep going.

    Getting unstuck in your career, taking a different path, and achieving the results you want will take resilience. Having resilience is also the capacity to choose how you respond to the unexpected things that life throws your way and adapt and thrive in times of complex change.

    Given that the world we live in is in constant flux, and the only thing that is certain is uncertainty, the ability to adapt and bounce back is an important life skill, as well as a career skill.

    In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth’s research shows that when measuring success, the ability to persevere beats talent every time.

    Learn more about how to build resilience in this guide: What Is Resilience and How to Always Be Resilient (Step-By-Step Guide)

    10. Ask for Help

    It can be hard to ask for help, as it can make us feel vulnerable.

    No one person can be expected to have all the answers. That’s why we need a group of people that we can go to for help, people who can pick us up when we have setbacks and also help us to celebrate success.

    My advice is to be deliberate about creating your group. You can do that with a tool called a “Me Map”:

    1. Write down all the things that you might need support with, like help with career progression, interview practice, making new connections, talking through business plans, learning from failure, etc.
    2. Next to each thing, write the names of the people you go to when you need that particular thing.
    3. Make sure you get in touch and regularly connect with them.

    Final Thoughts

    You can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work by applying the tips in this article. Start small by incorporating three new things in your first week, and then adding more as your comfort zone and capacity expands.

    Remember, no matter how stuck you feel, it’s never too late to make a change and land the career that you truly want.

    More Tips to Stop Feeling Stuck in Your Career

    Featured photo credit: NEW DATA SERVICES via unsplash.com

    Reference

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