The year is coming to an end, and for most employers, this means housekeeping duties, like budget reviews, performance evaluations, staffing shake-ups, promotions, and payroll changes, are in high-gear: Employees who are hoping for a promotion or transfer would be wise to make a formal request before the end of December. If you’d like to bring home a bigger paycheck or better benefits next year, now is the best time to make your move. Here are five tips to help you get the salary you deserve.
1. Set a meeting
Instead of asking your boss for a raise in the hallway or break room, request a formal meeting. Do this verbally if you’d like, but always follow up with a written message to confirm the time and place. If possible, send a calendar invitation to be sure you have time blocked off for your discussion.
2. Gather your notes
You deserve a higher salary. After all, the standard cost of living rises incrementally every year, and with each year you spend in this workplace, you gain experience and value as an employee. However, there are likely some specific reasons why you’re requesting a salary increase, and these have to do with your performance and contributions. Jot down a list of your major accomplishments during the past year, and bring it with you to the meeting. Having a list on hand will help you explain all the ways in which you’ve contributed more than the minimum.
3. Don’t expect an easy conversation
There’s a chance that you’ll ask your boss for a 10% raise, she’ll cheerfully say yes, and you’ll get on with your day. However, there’s a stronger likelihood that your boss will push back and present a list of reasons to deny your request. Be prepared to hold your ground and negotiate.
4. Ask for more than you need
If your goal is a 5% raise, ask for 7%. You’ll need to leave some room for your boss to counter your initial request. The more you ask for (within reason), the higher the final number will be after a few rounds of back-and-forth.
5. Be ready for anything.
Your boss may challenge you on the specifics of your accomplishments, and you may be told (either in words or by insinuation) that you aren’t the star employee you thought you were, or that your request for a raise reflects selfishness, entitlement or worse. Shrug these things off. These tactics are commonly deployed on younger and less-experienced employees who often don’t have the tools to push back. If you’ve worked hard and you know the market value of your skills and title, stand strong. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.
Also, have a backup plan in mind. If you don’t get what you need from this interaction, be ready to turn your attention toward the job market and start searching for work elsewhere. LiveCareer can help! Use the tools on the site to find an employer who can respect your skills and compensate you for your contributions.