Career Resources

Career Resources

Why Asking for a Raise Isn’t Enough

Posted September 23, 2014 & filed under Hiring Resources, Job Search

Why Asking for a Raise Isn’t Enough

Asking your boss for a raise? If your exceptional work is worth it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. However, simply requesting a higher salary isn’t enough. You need conviction and a way to show that your achievements merit the extra money. More than that, you need to a step-by-step method to get you and your boss on the same page.

It’s All about Timing

There’s a right time and a wrong time to ask for a raise. Is revenue at a new high? Do your accomplishments still have that zesty freshness? It’s now the perfect window. Hiring managers are most receptive when they can justify a raise due to an upswing in good fortune.

On the flip side, it’s imperative to hold off until those moments. Ask yourself: Are you still troubleshooting big glitches? Are you shy of completing an amazing project? Don’t get trigger happy: the right accolades can tip the scales in your favor.

Moreover, if your company is in the midst of a rough patch (layoffs, project setbacks, etc.), wait until the dust has settled. Asking for a raise now can spell ruin for your chances.

To your boss, it may seem like you’re playing hard ball at a difficult time to leverage the odds in your favor. Even with the best intentions, you may seem opportunistic. That definitely won’t do your career any good.

Break Out Your Brag File

A successful petition for a raise isn’t improvised in the moment. Raise earners state their purpose from the start and exhibit their value. That’s when it pays off to have a brag file.

What’s a brag file? It’s a portfolio filled with your greatest accomplishments. They’re often used to sell your qualifications during a job interview, but they’re just as handy when you go to ask for a raise.

Include anything that proves your value:

  • Exceptional projects that earn major revenue or put your company on the map
  • Client negotiations that result in profitable new or continued business
  • Innovative fixes that save thousands or prevent customer backlash

Really, you can use any achievement that makes you proud. Just have quantitative results (added revenue, increase sales, improved functionality, or growing clientele) to back it up.

Outline Your Future Plans

Asking for a raise isn’t just about what you’ve done. It’s a common misconception that stymies most salary hikes. Dwell too much in the past and you’ll seem as if your best days are behind you. Many forget that your future works can be just as effective in your argument.

Are you pioneering a project that can garner millions? Is your passion for cutting-edge tech leading you to streamline operations? If it’s all part of a longer process, show your progress and hint at the payoff to come.

It can be hard to sell the future to anyone. Ultimately, success comes when you can explain the tangible steps happening right now that are bringing you closer to that goal.

Mistakes Won’t Necessarily Stop You

A big mistake doesn’t automatically disqualify you from a raise. In fact, you can use it to show what you’ve learned from the situation.

The trick is to be honest, explain where you erred, and show the steps you’ve already taken to remedy that mistake. If you can link it to a project success, your argument will be all the more potent.

On a Final Note:

Doubt can derail it all. Even if you let it creep into your mind, it can undercut even your best argument.

Don’t come in like a panhandler with your hat in your hands. Ask for a raise with the knowledge that you’ve provided value (check your brag file), will continue to provide value (your current projects), and will always learn new ways to provide value (your learned lessons).

by James Walsh

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