Focus on your work accomplishments - Deepstash
Focus on your work accomplishments

Focus on your work accomplishments

... not your finances.

You might be asking for a raise because your rent went up or you want to save more for retirement, but that shouldn’t be part of your case to your boss. 

Your case should stick to business reasons — the contributions you’ve made and your value to your employer.

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Some employers adhere to rigid policies around how large a pay increase anyone can get at one time. 

It’s useful to know how your company generally handles raises so that you know what’s likely to be possible.

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If you work for a company that generally gives raises once a year, pay attention to when that normally happens and plan to initiate the conversation with your boss at least a month or two before that formal process begins. 

If you wait until decisions on raises have already been made, it might be too late to get changes made.

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Doing excellent work for a year

For most people, expect to wait a year from the last time your salary was set before asking for it to be reassessed.

The “excellent work” part of this really matters. If your boss hasn’t seemed pleased with your work, a request for a raise isn’t likely to go over well.

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You shouldn’t ask to talk about your salary when your manager is especially harried or having a bad day or nervous about impending budget cuts. 

On the other hand, if you’ve just saved the day with an important client or garnered rave reviews for a high-profile project, or if your boss has seemed particularly pleased with you lately, now might be a particularly good time to make the request.

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It’s not greedy or entitled to ask for a raise.  Unless you work somewhere truly dysfunctional, it’s understood that you work for money. This is okay.

  • you’re not asking for an amount that’s wildly out of sync with the market for your work, and 
  • you have a track record of strong work.

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Touch on why you think you’ve earned a raise — i.e., that your responsibilities and/or the level of your contributions have increased. 

If you know your boss will need to get your raise approved by someone above her, you can leave a short, bulleted list of key points of your most significant new responsibilities or accomplishments.


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You can often get surprisingly good data just by talking to people in your field. 

Most people don’t love being asked, “What do you earn?” but will happily share if you ask, “What would you expect a job like X at a company like Y to pay?” You can also try talking to recruiters and see if any professional organizations in your field keep salary data (many do).

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  • If you get a “maybe,” make sure you’re clear on what next steps are. It’s okay to say something like, “Could I plan to check back with you when we meet on the 20th?” 
  • If the answer is no,  this is a perfect opportunity to ask, “Can you tell me what you think it would take for me to earn a raise in the future? A decent manager should be able to explain to you what you’d need to do to earn more.

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A raise
... is a recognition that you’re now contributing at a higher level than when your salary was last set. 

A raise isn’t a favor or a gift; it’s a way for employers to pay fair market value for your work and to keep you around because otherwise you’re eventually going to want to find a different job that does pay you competitively.

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Know what your work is worth

Find out what the market rate for your work in your geographic area is before you ask for more money. 

Figuring out the market rate for your work isn’t always straightforward. Salary websites aren’t always accurate at the individual level but can give you a very rough range.

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RELATED IDEAS

Command the tasks and responsibilities in your current role, then start solving the problems that your soon-to-be self would be working on.
The only way to effectively do this is through careful time management. Understand the core strategy of your organization, ask lots of hard questions and align your priorities with that of the company. 

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  • How is the financial health of the company? If the company is not doing well, this is not the time to ask for a raise. 
  • How is your manager’s workload? If your manager is under a lot of stress or focused on too many things right now, it may not be the time to ask for a raise. 
  • When is the best time of year to ask for a raise? The end of the fiscal year could be an option. Have you successfully completed a significant task or project? This could be a good time to ask for a raise.

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The Job Interview

Hunting for a job is a tricky process and may have many pitfalls. Many of us are not accustomed to having these kinds of conversations or handling the power dynamics of a job interview. There can be many scenarios and awkward situations that we need help with.

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