How to Ask for a Raise

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Posted on 07/21/2008

You work hard for your money. And then it gets sucked up in that darn gas tank or at the grocery store or by Uncle Sam. It's time to ask for a raise. But don't just saunter into your boss's office and demand one. Use these five steps to make your odds of getting more money a little better.

Step One: Plan Ahead
Do a little research. Find out what other people with your experience and education are earning doing your job. A great resource is Salary.com. Plug in your job title and your zip code. Then Salary.com will give you a nifty chart that shows you the range of income. For instance, if you're a restaurant manager in Modesto, California, Salary.com shows you that salaries range from just under $30,000 to $64,000. That's good information to have when you walk into your boss's office.

Step Two: Make a List
Put all of your accomplishments, strengths and achievements down on paper. Let's just say you want to know exactly how to respond when your boss asks you, "why do you deserve a raise?" It's also good to leave your boss with this list so they can review it when deciding how much more money to throw your way. Be sure to include all major and minor milestones.

Step Three: Set up a Meeting
Approach a request for a raise with professionalism. Your boss is busy, so schedule a meeting in which to discuss this important topic. When you're choosing when to ask, think about timing. Did you just save your company lots of money? Or maybe you landed a big sale? Ask when your stock is up.

Step Four: Stay Focused
You're in the meeting. You've made your pitch about why you've earned a raise. Your boss doesn't seem convinced. Whatever you do, keep the focus on your strengths, how you're helping the company and your goals. Don't bring up personal reasons as to why you need the extra cash. Chances are, your boss won't care much about how much you really want to remodel your bathroom or how you racked up that gambling debt in Vegas.

Step Five: Be Positive
If you get a "yes," be appreciative, yet humble. If you get a "maybe," tell your boss thank you for her consideration. If the answer is "no," don't worry. Politely request an opportunity to revisit the issue in six or eight months. And remember-- you're no worse off than you were to start with.

By Alison Storm

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