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Tips for asking for a raise

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Talking about money is one of the most stressful experiences on the job. Asking for a raise is bound to give almost anyone the jitters. These hints can help you prepare for that difficult conversation and even increase your chances of success.

Do your homework.

Know what standard salaries in your field are for employees with your level of qualification and experience. Don’t guess; do accurate research and have the figures with you. Don’t rely on hearsay about what other firms are paying. Having accurate information will demonstrate your professionalism and strengthen your case. {{more}}

Review your work history.

Try to imagine yourself as your boss conducting a review of your performance. What have been your biggest accomplishments at work? Your most successful projects? Make notes of these and be prepared to mention them in the discussion.

Explain your motivation.

Remember, as compelling as your need may be, the fact that you need more money is not a justifiable reason for a raise. Don’t mention personal or family expenses as reasons you deserve a raise. You want to think of reasons the company should pay you more – such as conforming to industry salary norms, compensation for excellent work, or your value to the company. Explaining why you’re valuable to the company will be much more effective than portraying yourself as a charity case.

Find the right time to ask.

Ideally you’ll ask for a raise in the wake of a glowing accomplishment or triumph at work. Obviously, asking for more money after a less-than-stellar performance or extended absence isn’t a good idea. Also, try to aim for a time when your boss isn’t overwhelmed or pressured.

And find the right place.

Discussions about money and salary should be held in private – don’t corner your boss in the corridor. If she’s inaccessible most of the time, make an appointment.

Don’t give up.

If the initial answer is no, ask for further clarification. Does this mean a future raise is also out of the question? What additional accomplishments or skills does your boss believe you need in order to qualify for a better salary? Show your determination to achieve these goals. Ask if you can discuss the subject again in the future. If the answer is an indefinite ‘we’ll see’ ask about an approximate time frame to hear his decision.

Don’t make idle threats.

Don’t threaten to quit unless you really, really mean it. And be careful about exaggerations and talk of offers from other companies. Your boss’s circle of contacts in the field is likely broader than your own, and bluffing might backfire.

Project a positive self-image.

Finally, be on your best behavior. A professional appearance, good eye contact, and firm handshake are always a plus. If you’re naturally timid, rehearse some of your phrasing beforehand. Appearing confident and calm while discussing a difficult topic makes you appear professional and capable in any situation.

• Adapted from Apply Now,Your Guide to Stress Management.

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