How To Get a Raise
Estimated Lesson Time: 5 minutes
One of the easiest ways to immediately increase your income is by asking for a raise. Many people underestimate their value and accept the standard pay schedule set by the organization for which they work. Rule number one in asking for a raise is to make sure you are doing more than what is written in your job description and/or do it better than most others in the same position. If you are only doing what you are getting paid for, and doing it no better than the average employee, then your pay is most likely right where it should be.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before asking for a raise. The answers to these questions can help you determine your approximate worth to the organization where you work.
- How long have you been at the job? The more time you have invested in the job, the better your chances of getting a raise.
- Did you sign an employment contract, or otherwise make an agreement to a set pay for a set time? As a person of honor, it is right to keep your word whether it is verbal or written. You may be able to get a raise now, but you could damage your reputation and any chance for long-term success at the position.
- Can the organization you work for afford to give you a raise? You can be the number one employee and be crucial to the organization, but there may just not be enough money to give you a raise.
- How unique are your skills? Do you have a job that virtually anyone can do with little training, or does your job require very specialized skills or knowledge that you are one of the few who possess? If the latter, you have a much better chance of getting a raise.
- How unique is the way you do your job? I heard of this traffic cop in Provincetown, Massachusetts, who does his job with a style of all his own. While he directs traffic, he dances, spins, and hops around, putting on a good show for spectators. In fact, he is one of the reasons tourists visit the town. The city has even declared a day “Dancing Cop Donald J. Thomas Day.” You can bet that this 42-year veteran of the force can get a raise if he hasn’t already.
- Do the person(s) responsible for giving raises know who you are? Do something to stand out in a positive way: bring donuts for your co-workers, share ideas with your bosses, keep yourself in the spotlight and make an impression.
Once you are convinced that you deserve a raise, it is time to ask for it. Follow these guidelines carefully and at the very least, you will be more appreciated and respected for what you do.
- Never fear asking, as long as you do it right. Do not be demanding and don't give an ultimatum. Just as you would ask a friend out to dinner, be friendly in your request. Have the attitude that what you are proposing will benefit both parties.
- Ask with confidence. Stand or sit up tall, maintain good eye contact, speak in an audible tone of voice, and eliminate the small talk. Confidence tells your boss that you are not just asking for a raise for more money, but that you feel you deserve the raise as well.
- Ask in person. If possible, ask for a raise in person. Over 80% of our communication is non-verbal. Allow your confidence and your ability to read people to work to your advantage. Asking via telephone is the next best way to ask for a raise because you can still immediately answer any objections or concerns that arise. Finally, at times it may be required to submit a formal request via letter. If this is the case, be sure your letter is checked by at least one other person before sending it out.
- State your request correctly. As an employer, here are two of the ways that I most appreciate a request for a raise: 1) ask, “What would I have to do to earn a salary of ___?” or 2) “Here is what I will do for ___.” Using the former as the request, the option of not getting a raise is not even mentioned. This question causes the employer to think of ways to grant your request rather than reacting with a defensive “no.” By telling your employer what you will do for the raise shows that you have carefully thought this through, and you are not looking for something for nothing. Choose the method that you are most comfortable using.
Asking for a raise is not that difficult if you feel you truly deserve it. Make sure you are doing more than is expected of you and doing it better than the average employee. Be confident and courteous in your request, state your request correctly, and you will greatly improve your chances of getting the raise you deserve.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)