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  • Writer's pictureLori A. Jazvac, MRW

It May be Time to Spring into a New Role - Go Ahead and Ask for that Raise

As I am looking outside, I notice clear signs of spring and the snow has completely melted. I hear from many clients that they have been a role for over 2 years and have received no pay raise even though they have been doing a lot more work and producing great results.

What is exactly stopping you from asking for that raise?

  • Do you have confidence in your abilities?

  • Do you feel you deserve a raise?

  • Do you really want one?

Sometimes we shortchange ourselves and pass up on the good opportunities. Call it imposter syndrome or whatever you will, the fact is that asking for a raise does not need to be difficult.

So take the raise challenge! Plan it out this time. Do your research. Understand your worth. Have a firm strategy in place.

Take the Raise Challenge and Plan Your Strategy

Are you ready for a raise? Preparation is one of the most important factors in successfully requesting a raise. Getting the timing right, structuring the request, and justifying your raise are all components of a successful request for a raise.

During this challenge, take consistent action for 14 days focused on activities in these areas:

• Research Your Raise Request

• Practice Asking For a Raise

• Set Yourself Up For Success

• Grab Bag

• Make The Ask

Take one action each day from one of these areas (see the list below for ideas). Taking action in each of these areas over the course of the challenge will prepare you to make a successful raise request.

Use a calendar or a planner to plan and track each day’s activities. Write down the activity you will do and put a big red ‘X’ on each day you complete the challenge activity. At the end of the 14-day period, you want as many spaces marked off as possible on your Calendar or Planner.

There are three ways to conduct the challenge:

• Do one action item each day for 14 days straight

• Take action for six days each week (no Sundays) for a little more than two weeks

• Take action for five days each week (no weekends) for just under three weeks

It’s up to you!

During the challenge, reward yourself for good performance. Enjoy a special outing or anything else that will encourage you to keep going!

Here are suggested actions within each of the areas:

Research Your Raise Request

* Using an online salary website, research what other professionals are getting paid to do the job you do.

* Contact your industry’s professional or trade association to see if they have salary data for your position. (Remember to compare job responsibilities, not just job titles, as these can vary from company to company.)

* Check out Glassdoor or PayScale to see if you can find salary information for your specific company and job title.

* Research how your company typically handles raises. Are they given out at a specific time each year? Are they merit- or performance-based, or fixed cost-of-living raises?

* Create a list of your accomplishments (within the last 12-18 months) that makes you valuable.

* Conduct a Google search for “average salary for (job title).” This can sometimes lead you to more specific salary data for a profession.

* Identify any company-specific factors that might affect your raise request (for example, recent loss of a key client — or acquisition of a new contract, or company culture and pay philosophy).

* If you work for a company that doesn’t do annual performance reviews (and raises), ask your supervisor for an opportunity to meet one-on-one to discuss your workload, performance, objectives, and compensation.

* Prepare an objective (factual, non-emotional) list of reasons for requesting a raise. These should have to do with your work responsibilities and performance.

* Make a list of three things that you would be willing to accept in lieu of a raise in case money isn’t an option (i.e., association dues, training, a flexible schedule).

Set Yourself Up For Success

* Get motivated — talk to someone who you know who recently received a raise. What were their fears and apprehensions? What went well for them? What would they have done differently?

* Visualize success. Picture yourself asking for — and securing — a raise.

* Prepare supporting documentation. When asking for a raise, provide written materials to back up your salary request. This can include salary data, previous performance evaluations, letters of recommendation, and a summary of work accomplishments and awards.

* Create a goal list. Write up an overview of what you’re working on right now (detailing the impact these efforts will have on the company in the near future) as well as your goals for the next year. What are your priorities and what will they contribute to the company?

* Write up a short summary of a major project you’ve recently completed and share it with your boss via email.

Practice Asking For a Raise

* Create a list of 5-10 questions you expect to be asked in response to your raise request. Questions can relate to your workload, performance, objectives, and/or compensation.

* Write out a script of your answers to questions you may be asked.

* Practice asking for a raise for 25 minutes with a friend or colleague.

* Think about what other things are important to you — besides money — when making a raise request. Would you be willing to trade a salary increase for the opportunity to work from home part-time? Or the ability to work a flexible schedule?

* Prepare an alternative if your raise request isn’t accepted. Would a one-time bonus be an option? Or perhaps an extra vacation day? Or the opportunity to take on additional responsibility (which may lead to a future raise)?

* Spend 15 minutes preparing to answer the key question: Why should we give you a raise?

* Record yourself asking for a raise and practice improving your presentation.

Grab Bag

* Research the timing of raise requests within your company. If this is your first time asking for a raise, ask co-workers about how and when raise requests are typically made.

* Identify a class, workshop, training, certification, or degree you need to increase your value as an employee.

* Take an online class/workshop to improve a specific skill.

* Work on your confidence — your attitude plays a big part when asking for a raise.

Make the Ask

* Research the timing of your request. If your company has an annual budgeting process, make sure you’re requesting your raise before the next budget cycle begins. (Consider asking 4-6 weeks before the budgets are set.)

* If you work for a company that doesn’t do annual performance reviews (and raises), ask your supervisor for an opportunity to meet one-on-one to discuss your workload, performance, objectives, and compensation.

* Ask your box when would be a good time to discuss your responsibilities and compensation.

* Come up with a specific number in mind with your raise request. The average raise is between 1-5%. If you’re asking for more, be prepared to justify your number!

Completing the 14-Day Challenge

At the end of the 14 days, review your progress.

** Did you ask for your raise?

** Did you receive it? If not, what steps do you need to take to set yourself up to receive a raise the next time you ask?

** If the answer to your raise request is “No,” recognize that “no now” is not “no forever.” See if you can schedule a time to revisit the topic in the future (say, three or six months from now) and ask for objectives and/or milestones to reach in the meantime.

And for the future — don’t wait until you’re ready to ask for a raise to communicate your accomplishments. Write up a short summary of a each major project when you finish it and email it to your boss. (And keep a copy for yourself in an accomplishments file.)

Following is a sample first three days of a completed 14-Day Challenge Planner.

Challenge Planner

Day 1: Look on Glassdoor or PayScale to see if I can find salary information for my specific company and job title.

Day 2: Visualize success. Picture myself asking for — and securing — a raise.

Day 3: Research how my company typically handles raises.

Questions to Consider for Self-Reflection

One of the best ways to get started each day in your 14-day challenge is to ask yourself a question. Here are some sample questions you can use:

* When I’ve been successful in requesting a raise in the past, how did that happen?

* What projects have I accomplished recently that have helped the company make more money, save money, save time, or get more clients?

* What skills, education, or experience do I have that have increased my contribution to the company?

* What additional skills might I need to develop — both now and in the future — to set myself up for a future raise? (A foreign language? Computer skills?)

* Which of my friends and/or co-workers have been successful in asking for a raise? What strategies or tactics did they use that I can adopt in my own raise request?

* Am I ready to answer the question: Why do you think you deserve a raise?

* Have I done the homework/activities required to prepare to ask for a raise?

For more information on career support or brand marketing services, contact Creative Horizons Communications at We offer a complete course on Salary Negotiation. Just ask to learn more.

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