President Kennedy once said, “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.” This is why in 2018, I want you to resolve to take action, not only make sure you’re receiving equal pay for equal work, but that you’re also moving up the career ladder like a determined mountain goat scaling a rock wall. Risk is inherent, but the reward is a delicious grassy field upon reaching the crest, and by that I mean a raise.
Asking for a raise and then negotiating salary and benefits is nerve-wracking, but view this challenge as an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. You are hardworking, competent, and a total asset to your company. This is a chance to invest in yourself so that you can earn more money to eliminate debt and even save for retirement.
First, let’s discuss a few steps you can take to best position yourself for a raise, promotion, and get the money you deserve.
Take the Time to Prepare
There are questions you need to ask yourself: What have you done to earn a raise or promotion? What value do you add to the company and its mission? What responsibilities and projects have you taken on? Are you displaying leadership and initiative at work? What are your professional goals? Answer these questions as specifically and quantifiably as possible. Be sure to write down your answers! There are a number of psychological benefits to writing things down, including improved memory recall. And trust me, you will want to remember every detail of your notes with confidence when it’s time to pitch your boss.
The responses you formulate will assist you in developing a defense to the inevitable question: “Why do you deserve a raise?” Think of this as preparing a case for presentation. Your job is to convince your superiors, without a doubt, that you should get the money you deserve.
Come prepared with an ideal salary in mind along with a mid-point and a minimum. This requires a bit of research. Find out what others with comparable titles, responsibilities, and experience are earning at your company, as well as what people are making in similar positions at other companies. The last thing you want to do is undercut yourself in this process. Take this opportunity to look at your budget and calculate how a raise will improve your finances or help you make ends meet. If you don’t have a budget, now is a great time to set one up using a budgeting worksheet to guide you.
A terrific place to start is on glassdoor.com and salary.com. Usually, it’s appropriate to ask for 10% to 20% more than what you’re currently making. If you find yourself having to negotiate pay and benefits, the more information you’ve armed yourself with, the more power you’ll have in getting the money you deserve.
Rehearse and Rebut
Like Meryl Streep preparing yet another acceptance speech, I urge you to rehearse what you’re going to say. The more comfortable you feel, the better off you’ll be. Take it a step further by crafting potential rebuttals if you initially hear a “no.”
Rehearsing your proposal and rebuttals will help you in speaking with conviction. The hope is that if you’re initially given a negative response you won’t run out of the room and feel compelled to hide under a rock for the foreseeable future.
Build Your Self-Confidence and Practice Positivity
How are you going to convince a boss to believe in you if first you don’t believe in yourself? There shouldn’t be any doubt in your mind that you are worthy of a raise or promotion. Confidence and positivity aren’t traits you’re born with, they are skills to be honed. It’s not easy to feel powerful and assured, so you must spend time pumping yourself up.
Before, during, and after you ask for a raise, you should be practicing positivity both in your mind and aloud. Speak highly of your company and your coworkers. Speak highly of yourself. Exude the energy of someone who everyone wants to be around. This is also just good practice for your life in general.
When you’re in the meeting, be cognizant of your body language. Your posture should reflect your confidence and openness for dialogue. Speak in a clear and concise manner. Your tone and body language will say just as much as the actual words coming out of your mouth.
Ask on a Good Day and Get the Money You Deserve
You probably don’t want to ask for a raise on a day when the boss is finalizing a divorce or is pressed to meet a deadline. While you don’t want to put the conversation off too long, or find a million excuses not to have it, setting up a time that’s good for the both of you is important.
Finally, ask for a closed door meeting. It would be awkward to have this conversation in front of other co-workers. Plus, you want the full attention of your boss.
If you prepare your case, rehearse, and exude confidence, I know this will be your year to get the money you’ve earned. Go get them, andremember to use that well-deserved raise to pay off debt and save for your future!
Author Bio: Catie Hogan is the Founder and President of Hogan Financial Planning LLC. She’s travels the country speaking, educating, and advocating for financial literacy among young adults.