Want to earn more? Prove you’re worth the money.
Lucky you. You’re happy at your job. You enjoy your duties, your co-workers and your boss. The schedule suits you and your commute is not bad. You feel your career is in a good place.
Well, OK, there’s one tiny drawback. Your pay is on the low side. Perhaps raises have been infrequent or stingy. Or you may have started off low — this happens a lot, especially if you were hired during the Great Recession.
Fortunately, with the employment rate at an 18-year high, this is a fantastic time to ask for a raise. But wait. Before you march into your boss’s office, you need a plan.
First, gather together lists of your accomplishments, additional training you’ve had, new responsibilities you’ve taken on and positive feedback received from colleagues or customers. Use numbers where possible. If you can, point to examples where you’ve decreased expenditures or increased revenues.
Next, rehearse your pitch, or even role-play it with a friend willing to play the part of reluctant boss. Your goal here is to think through all the possible responses or objections the powers-that-be might come up with and then prepare ideas to address them.
Don’t forget to say how much you enjoy working for the company, stressing that you’re invested in its success. Sincere enthusiasm creates goodwill.
Finally, and this one is important: Your boss may ask you how much money you want, and you need to be able to cite a specific answer. Do keep in mind that average raises range from 1 to 5 percent, so be realistic. Some say that naming an “odd” number — $60,450, say, instead of $60,000 or $61,000 — will get your boss’s attention and make you look like you’ve done your homework.
P.S.: Speaking of homework, does it help to “prove” you’re underpaid by citing your research of average salaries for similar positions? Not as much as you might think. While it’s good to know the going rate for your job, the fact that your company is getting you for less might be seen as a feature, not a bug! So make your pitch for a raise more about them than about you, speaking in terms of what you have to offer your company and how that specifically contributes to the bottom line.