Throughout your career, you are definitely going to encounter a situation where you feel entitled to a salary raise but have not been offered one. Learning how and when to ask for a raise is the first towards taking control of one’s future and career. Unfortunately in these tough economic times, raises are not always freely given, in fact sometimes we feel like we are fighting for it. Capitalizing on successes and highlighting your ability to make a difference can often be parlayed in to raises. The trick is to know when to strike.
First, decide just when to ask for a raise. This can be tricky. Many employees opt to only ask for a raise on a yearly basis, but it is possible and sometimes even suggested, to ask for raises on a more frequent basis. When trying to determine the best time to ask for a raise, consider the following:
- Is your employer financially secure? Even if your company announce it’s earnings from the rooftop, it is generally possible to determine if they are secure or experiencing cash flow difficulties. Obviously asking for a raise when a company is strapped for cash is not a great idea.
- Has your employer recently won new business, reached a sales goal or other milestone? If so, it is often best to ask for a raise as soon as possible – especially if you contributed to the success.
- Have you recently done something to change your company in a positive way? Finishing a large project, winning a new client or developing a helpful program for the company can make you shine and is the best way to successfully ask for a raise.
Once you have determined the perfect time to ask for a raise, you next need to learn how to do so in an appropriate manner that is professional but also persuasive (minus the chocolates and sucking up). Remember to keep all communications regarding your request positive, and be prepared for a ‘no’ or an offer that is less than you expected.
When asking for a raise, remember that your best weapon is your record of successful accomplishments. Properly documenting and presenting them is critical towards a successful request. Carefully and concisely outlining your accomplishments as well as your growth is the first step towards asking for a raise.
Finally, always remember that professionalism is key. Because of this, it is vital that an employee not ignore the management structure of their organization. Every employee should first approach their manager or supervisor with their salary raise increase request. Jumping ahead is little more than stepping on the toes of the manager and will likely not result in a raise.
If you are not satisfied with cost of living or non-existent raises, don’t be afraid to approach your manager about your needs. An employee who recognizes their strengths and contributions and is willing to learn and grow is an asset to any organization – raises simply make sense. Find the best time to present your request and documentation and you will likely see your salary increase.