If You Want a Raise, Be Prepared

So you’ve been working hard, really hard at your job. People have noticed and commented. Your boss has noticed and commented positively.

Then performance reviews roll around. Your boss speaks highly of your work and gives you a very positive review. And you wait, expectantly: you know that mention of a raise, perhaps even a promotion is coming. Sure as know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, a raise is coming. You. Just. Know. It.

And then? Bupkis. The boss never mentions a raise. The word promotion never leaves her lips.

You, naturally, are stumped. What happened?

You didn’t ASK for a raise is what happened!

Los Angeles careers

Of course, some bosses automatically reward hard work with raises, but not always. Your boss has many other things on her mind: she needs to make sure the big project gets done on time. She needs to keep her own boss happy. She has plenty of fires to put out, people to manage and worries of which you have no idea. There’s a lot your boss needs to manage and know.

But one thing she doesn’t know is that you want a raise and she doesn’t know it because you haven’t told her!

Asking for a raise is the first step to getting one. The most important step. But it’s not the only step: you need to prove to your boss that you deserve one!

Before the Ask, the Preparation

You can’t simply approach your boss and say “Boss, I’ve been working hard; I’d like a raise.” If you want a raise, you do need to work hard, but then you need to show how that hard work has benefited your boss, your department and/or company in some tangible way.

And that is where the preparation comes in. Follow these four steps as you prepare.

  1. The process starts weeks and months before you ask.

As you perform your job, send your boss quarterly, monthly or even weekly updates. Tell her what you’ve accomplished in measurable terms (you brought in $X in new sales, you posted X blog posts, you handled X number of customer complaints, you’re halfway through a project and are two weeks ahead, etc.)

If you do something extraordinary (landed an account three times your usual size, for example), include that, as well.

Sending these reports does two things: it keeps your supervisor apprised of your accomplishments and it acts as a way for you to remember your accomplishments months later. After all, it’s easy to forget you completed a project three weeks ahead of schedule six months later.

  1. Don’t feel you can ask for a raise only at your annual performance review.

If you believe you’ve truly gone far above what’s required of you and if you know – and can show – how that work as helped your boss, department or company accomplish its own goals, there’s no need to wait to ask for a raise. When extraordinary work has been accomplished, it’s appropriate to ask for a reward soon after.

  1. Think about how your boss likes to be approached about important things and act accordingly.

Does your boss prefer directness? If so, you may want to set an appointment and let her know upfront you want to discuss a raise. If your manager prefers a more subtle approach to important topics, bring the raise up in a weekly or monthly check-in meeting. In other words, study when your supervisor is most amenable to considering requests and approach her in the way that has the best chance of success for her.

At the least, if you feel she’s troubled, in a bad mood, stressed, etc. at the time of your meeting, see if you can reschedule.

  1. Prepare your case.

Before meeting with your manager, look through your updates and collect proper “evidence.” Show the facts: that you brought in the big client, finished the project early, saved the company money in some way, received an “atta boy” letter from the CEO for your great work, and so on.

Then, do your homework: do some research to find out what raise percentages usually are given out at your company, in your region, in your industry. You want to ask for a reasonable raise, but as mentioned below, if you accomplished the extraordinary, feel free to ask for a larger-than-normal raise. Just be doubly prepared to give solid reasons why your accomplishment warrants it.

You’ll probably be nervous asking for more money, and that’s OK. Just don’t let fear hold you back from asking for a raise when it’s deserved.

Not all raises take place with your current employer: switch to a new employer and you typically receive a 4 percent raise just by leaving one company for another.

If you think it’s time to move on from your Los Angeles or Orange County job, check out Helpmates’ current openings and, if one interests you, apply for it!

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