A close friend of mine is the heart and soul of her medical office. Taking on more tasks than humanly possible, she is the “go to” person for everyone. And while she is constantly training people who go on to gain advancement and pay raises in other parts of the company, she continues to toil away, earning a salary that is not in line with her contributions.
Her situation proves that, often in life, “You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.” Working hard isn’t enough. You have to ask for what you’re worth.
Present yourself with confidence and your boss will take you more seriously.
The financial ramifications of obtaining raises are significant. Consider a person making a $50,000 annual salary. If she effectively presents her case and garners a yearly 4% raise over the next 10 years, she’ll find herself making $74,000 annually by the end of the ten year period. More importantly, she’ll have earned a total of $124,000 more than someone who never received a raise over that same ten year period.
Unfortunately, many of us fumble unsuccessfully negotiating the raises we deserve. Raises are won or lost based on preparation. Here are a few simple tips to help you win the raises you merit.
Have a Specific Figure in Mind
Know what you want. Typical raises range from 2% to 5%, but if you feel that your job responsibilities are excessive or that you’re doing the work of several people, don’t be afraid to ask for more. Research what others in your position are receiving in compensation. Talk to recruiters, research online or seek information from colleagues at other companies if you must.
Don’t Make it Personal
Never bring your personal finances into the discussion. Your boss could care less about your rent problems, student loans, or past due car payment. Explain to your boss why you deserve a raise rather than why you need one.
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Arm Yourself With Proof
Your company is in business to make a profit. The best way to garner a raise is to explain how your efforts contribute to the bottom line. Show your worth. Explain how you landed important clients, made the company more efficient, trained valued employees, or completed projects that expanded the company’s business.
Keep a Work Journal
It’s crucial that you keep a work journal. Throughout the year record your accomplishments and contributions to the company. Keep tally of your responsibilities and the people you trained. In addition, save any testimonials from customers and note any praise you receive from colleagues. Your work journal will place the pertinent information at your fingertips when it’s time to prove you deserve a raise.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Present yourself with confidence and your boss will take you more seriously. The key is to practice until you can pitch your case flawlessly. Rehearse in front of family and trusted colleagues. Allow them to critique you. Let them help you anticipate any objections or questions your boss might raise, and then prepare to address these potential objections with crisp clear responses.
Take “No” Gracefully
Despite even the most persuasive presentation, your boss may deny your request. Don’t take it personally or threaten to quit. That will only sour your reputation and make future salary negotiations almost impossible.
Perhaps your company simply doesn’t have the funds for raises. In such a case ask for alternative forms of compensation like extra days of paid vacation or Friday afternoons off. Maybe your performance does not honestly merit a raise. Ask your boss what you specifically need to do to obtain a raise in the future. This provides you with an actionable game plan to work with.
Obtaining raises is the key to earning tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, over the course of your career. But the process has other benefits as well. The very same preparation you use to secure a raise will help you land a new job if you decide to seek employment elsewhere. Your attempts to obtain a raise can also gauge your worth to the company. If you’re performing the job of several people, for instance, but your company refuses to compensate you appropriately, it may be time to move on.
BMWK, when is the last time you asked for a raise?