10 Steps to a Raise
We’ve got a whole bag of tricks up our sleeves this season that will help you earn the ultimate treat—a raise.
Unfortunately, monetary treats are a little harder to come by than knocking on your boss’ door, and holding out your candy cane container. If you want a raise, you’ve got to earn it. These 10 tricks can get you what you want.
Trick #1: Be the go-to girl. Every time someone new depends on you, your “irreplaceability” factor increases. Know what your colleagues have coming up—in or outside of work—and figure out how you can be of help to them. People will be just as thankful that you’ve recommended the perfect restaurant for their friend’s birthday party as they are when you offer to look over the report they’re working on.
Trick #2: Build a track record. If you haven’t been at your company long enough to ask for a raise, you’ve got to demonstrate your value. The only person who knows (and remembers) exactly what you contribute day in and day out is you—so keep a list of all of your successes and accomplishments. As soon as time is on your side, you’ll have your argument ready to present.
Trick #3: Find feedback. Don’t wait for review time to find out what your supervisor thinks your weaknesses are. Be proactive and ask. She’ll appreciate your willingness to learn and be thankful she didn’t have to be the one to bring it up.
Trick #4: Better yourself. Once you’re clued in to your perceived weaknesses, work on improving them immediately. Get training, rehearse, read books—do whatever it takes to get better at the skills you’re lacking. You’ll be far better off than your competitor who tries to cover them up.
Trick #5: Learn a new skill. In addition to getting better at what you already do, learning a new skill is the fastest way to increase your value and up your chances of a raise. Figure out what your colleagues one or two levels above you know that you don’t, and get on it. Even if you have to spend a little money on the side to get the knowledge you need, it’s an investment that is likely to pay for itself sooner than later.
Trick #6: Implement organization. Anytime you can offer a solution to make “the way things have always been done” better, jump on the opportunity. Maybe it means offering to type up and deliver your team’s action items after your regular Monday meeting. Maybe it’s coming up with a system to improve quality assurance. Remember that even unorganized people love organization—they’re just waiting for someone to do it for them.
Trick #7: Take on a new project. It’s unlikely you’ll get a raise without increasing your workload. So buck up and make more work for yourself, whether or not it’s expected of you. If you’re unsure where to start, ask your boss what areas of the company she’d like to improve upon, come up with a plan of attack, and pitch it to her.
Trick #8: Find a mentor. The senior-level people in your company have a wealth of information and experience they’re most likely willing to share. Find someone you don’t work directly under whose business style you admire and ask if she’d like to grab coffee while you pick her brain. As you maintain the relationship and continually demonstrate your desire to succeed, you’ll gain a powerful ally who will have good things to say when your name comes up.
Trick #9: Toot your own horn. No one like’s a braggart, unless of course whatever you’re bragging about is useful to them. Make sure the right people know you’re doing work that’s contributing to their success, whether it’s letting them know you’ve established a handy contact or updating them on the progress you’ve made on an important project.
Trick #10: Ask for it! If you’ve successfully implemented the other nine tricks, people have probably taken note. But that doesn’t mean they’ll automatically offer up the green. Schedule a meeting with your boss, present your proven value, and name your price (within reason, of course)!