If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you feel underpaid and undervalued at work and you want to ask for a raise.
Or maybe you have a performance review coming up, and you need a little help to make your case and get paid what you deserve.
If it’s any consolation, you’re not alone.
According to a LinkedIn survey, 39% of Americans feel anxious or frightened about negotiating. And it’s even harder for women — only 26% said they felt comfortable negotiating.
Here’s the good news. Because you’re reading this article, that means you’re serious about doing something about it. You’re not passively waiting for your boss to recognize your accomplishments, you’re taking your career into your hands and doing something about it.
In order to succeed, you’re going to need a game plan.
While there are many specific tips and techniques that I can show you to get the maximum raise possible, this article will serve as a quick overview to the steps needed to get a raise.
Step 1) Get in the Salary Negotiation Mindset
Getting a raise is a little bit like deciding to get in better shape. Few people immediately flip a switch and start going to the gym and eating perfectly balanced meals. Instead, deciding to drop a few pounds often starts with a mindset shift.
Perhaps there’s a college reunion coming up, or an eye-opening report from the doctor. People make a conscious decision… “Starting today, I am going to learn about taking better care of myself.”
The same can be said for taking charge of your career. Perhaps you’ve stagnated in your job, or found out that someone with similar skills is getting paid way more than you.
You’ve had enough.
You need to shift your thinking from being anxious about asking for a raise, to being excited. This is an opportunity to advance your career.
Action: The Salary Negotiation Mindset (free course).
Step 2) Research what you’re worth
If you’ve been at the same position for some time, it’s easy to fall into a routine and get caught up in your own little bubble. However, at least once a year it’s a good idea to survey your industry and see what your skills are worth in the market.
The key here is to focus on what others are willing to pay you, not how much of a raise you can get based on your current salary.
For example, one client of mine was earning $60,000 as an office manager. But over a 2-year span, she took on a much greater amount of responsibility and was now “wearing many hats.” With a big performance review coming up, she wanted advice in asking for a title and raise to match her current role.
We crafted a unique gameplan: researching market trends for salaries, graphing out the percentage of time spent on key projects, and compiling her bottom-line financial impact. The result? She felt empowered, her review went just as planned, and she was promoted from Manager to Director and received a 25% raise to $75,000.
Action: Use the Salary Tutor guide to research your worth, then present the data in a compelling format.
Step 3) Build your case
When interviewing for a new job, there’s a lot of blind faith. A complete stranger in Human Resources is trying to predict how you’ll perform at a new position, while you’re trying to show how your work at a completely different company is relevant.
When asking for a raise, things are a bit different. You’ve probably been working with your supervisor for a year or more, so you can base your results on an existing body of work.
The key is presenting your accomplishments in a way that shows how you’ve impacted the bottom line.
If you’ve brought in additional income, new clients, or perform a key task that no one else in the company can do, you can illustrate your value and ask for that increase.
Action: Record your accomplishments while on the job, then build a digital portfolio to display your work.
Step 4) Time it right
If you plan on storming into your boss’ office tomorrow and demanding a raise, think again. Timing your request can have a big impact on results.
On a macro level, you’ll want to gauge the health of the company and be aware of their budget cycles. If you’re up for an annual review, you’ll want to start preparing as much as 90 days earlier.
A great time to ask for that increase is right after a major accomplishment, or when a major change has happened such as someone giving notice.
Even the day of the week can be crucial – make sure you’re not scheduling an important meeting while your supervisor has a major crisis going on.
Action: Don’t just guess, be strategic about timing when asking for a raise.
Step 5) Role play and practice
As Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
I’ve met many a person who thought they were ready to ask for a raise, but when they found themselves sitting across from their boss in the moment of truth, the words came out in a jumble, they forgot a key piece of information, or they cowered and backed down when faced with any kind of pushback.
It’s imperative to go over your presentation multiple times, preferably with another person. Not only must you know what you’re asking for, but also have responses to any challenges that might come up.
Practice makes perfect.
Action: Role play your scenario with a friend, spouse, or hire a coach.
Step 6) Present your case
If you’ve gone through the first 5 steps, you’re ready to take action.
Walk your supervisor through your accomplishments and present your request for a raise or promotion in a professional manner based on data, research, and the goals you will accomplish moving forward.
This is no time to demand a raise, threaten to leave, or get emotional.
Action: Step up, be confident, and ask for what you’re worth.
It takes a bit of courage and preparation to effectively negotiate a raise or promotion. But with the right gameplan in place, you can outline your strategy for asking for — and getting – what you deserve.