10 Ways to get that raise you deserve!

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Although your work may be enjoyable and fulfilling, the real reason we’re all going to the office is to get a paycheck. The reality is that today’s business climate is more competitive than ever, as companies try to stay profitable, often giving their employees more responsibilities or downsizing to achieve that. In fact, in 2014, the average base salary pay raise has only been 3%! Despite that sobering news, there’s no reason you can’t get the raise you want and deserve, no matter what company you work for or how well your industry is doing. Many variables go into your consideration for a raise, like seniority, education, experience, and track record with the company, but there’s no need to sit back and think a raise is out of your control. There are plenty of strategies to boost your potential for a much bigger number on your next paycheck! Here are our 10:

1. Know your value.
Of course you may think you’re a million-dollar employee, but any search for a raise needs to start with hard data about your job in relation to your organization and the industry. So before you even approach your boss and raise the subject, do some research as to what the pay scale is for your same position, the true measure of what you are worth.

You can find the data you need at sites like Getraised.com, Payscale.com, or Glassdoor.com. Also do some research about how industry pay scales may swing up or down based on the cost-of-living in your area.

2. Become invaluable.
The best way to earn a raise is by making yourself invaluable – and therefore, irreplaceable, to your company. You can do this by volunteering for extra assignments, train yourself in the new software no one understands, work with a secondary-language market no one else can, or generally doing the specialized or niche work others can’t easily replicate.

3. Work on bigger teams.
Try to be a part of bigger teams on bigger projects. This isn’t just about challenging yourself to work above your pay grade. You’ll actually attach your name to people, projects, teams, and departments that are higher on the organizational hierarchy than you – and making more money. You’ll prove your work and value fits higher on the organizational hierarchy, so you’ll be a logical fit when it comes time to talk about a raise.

4. Build a working friendship with your managers and higher ups.
Lunch with your manager, carpooling with the head of HR, golf with your boss? Sure, why not?! Don’t be afraid to socialize (when appropriate) with the people who are vital to your career ascension. Remember that people aren’t robots, and they are more likely to endorse and promote someone who they know on a personal level. If you don’t see a good opportunity to mingle or socialize with your higher ups, a great way to squeeze into their social radar is to volunteer at a charity walk or event that you know they’re passionate about, and happen to be attending.

5. Take the emotion out of it.
Remember that this is just business- it’s not personal. Sometimes, you’ll be passed up for promotions or subbed for raises. Don’t get mad or upset and always keep your cool in front of your coworkers. How you handle disappointments says a lot about your character, and that’s something your bosses will remember. Also, be the ultimate team player. Encourage others, don’t compete with them, and jump in to help when they need it. Believe me, your bosses will notice, too!

6. Take advantage of education.
Make sure to sign up for every single class, workshop, training, and seminar your company offers. Even better, inquire if they will sponsor you for continuing education and skills training they haven’t instituted yet.

7. Ask for feedback!
Seek out your managers and supervisors and ask them for honest performance reviews. Don’t wait for the companywide performance reviews, initiate your own. Ask them for constructive feedback and suggestions how you can become more vital to the company. Propose the question, “If I wanted to move up in this company and take on a larger role, what is it I need to do or improve at?” Swallow your ego and take their suggestions to heart – they are road maps to a higher position and therefore a raise!

8. Document your accomplishments.

This may be one of the most important ways to obtain that raise you deserve, yet few people do it. Keep a file on an Excel spread sheet or a paper file at your desk and document EVERYTHING you do well, with hard numbers. If you save the company man-hours, keep money in their pockets, boost productivity, streamline systems, improve failing products or departments, or do anything that can be documented, write down those hard numbers with verification. When it’s time to talk about a raise, you’ll pull out that same file and be able to make a strong case why you deserve a raise from the company’s perspective – not just from your own.

9. Timing is everything.
When all of your research and verifiable accomplishments merits a raise, schedule a meeting with your boss to talk about it. Make sure it’s at a time when neither of you is distracted or plan on covering any other topics. Bring all of your data and make your logical, dispassionate case why it’s best for the COMPANY to give you a raise and/or promote you. But don’t try to ask for a raise right after a terrible earnings report or the company just lost a key client. Time it correctly so you’re riding the wave of positivity, when your raise will be seen as a reinvestment in the company. Remember that this is a negotiation, and so whatever their first answer and first offer, there will be a forum for you to make a case (aren’t you glad you documented everything!) for the raise you deserve.

10. Speak up!
Wallflowers rarely get the attention they deserve when it comes time for consideration for a raise. In fact, 84% of employers expect employees to ask for a raise, even though only 41% of Americans actually ever ask!

But you don’t have to be a braggart or annoyingly outgoing – just make sure to communicate often, openly, and directly with the coworkers around you, especially your higher-ups. Never waste their time but ask frequently if there’s anything extra you can do to help them out or improve the company’s bottom line. In return, mention that you would like to be considered for the next promotion or raise and ask for their endorsement or even to put in a good word with the boss.

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