If you are afraid to ask for a raise, you are not alone. Most people, no matter how self-confident they are, feel quite anxious about this issue. But good work should be rewarded, and most companies know that great talent is hard to come by and that the cost of turnover is quite high.
If you’re doing an outstanding job, your bosses will do what it takes to keep you. All that you need is a plan. Here’s one you can carry out in ten easy steps:
1. Time It Right
Timing is key. It’s probably not best to ask for a raise when the company has just announced a massive layoff, your boss is stressed out with a huge project, or you’ve just returned from a two-week vacation. Try to find a quiet time, preferably when you’ve just completed a major initiative or pulled off a major coup.
Make sure to get in during budget-planning season for the next fiscal year. Most companies plan in second and third quarters and finalize in the third and fourth quarters. Find out your company’s budget-planning timeline before it’s too late. If you miss it, your boss may not be able to give you a raise, even if they want to!
2. Leverage Is Key
Start meeting with recruiters and headhunters and begin applying for other jobs. The more leverage you have, the stronger your negotiating position will be. Plus, it’s good to assess the job market. Korn Ferry, CareerBuilder, Monster – just get out there. If there aren’t a lot of other places for you to go, you’ll need to dial down your expectations.
3. Formalize It
Let your boss know that you’d like to schedule a meeting with them and an HR rep to discuss your future. Send a meeting invitation and plan for at least a 45-minute discussion.
4. State Your Value
Make a list of all your skills, from your fluency in a foreign language to your IT experience, from your project management protocols to your accreditations, classes, and expertise. Chances are, the last time your boss reviewed your skills was when they first looked at your resume.
5. List Your Successes
Prepare a bulleted list of all your accomplishments since you joined the company and bring it to the meeting. Don’t leave anything out. Build it up with supporting evidence, like financial documents, plans, and press coverage. Have this evidence on hand during the meeting! Most bosses are not aware of all that you’ve done.
Do your homework and benchmark your salary against other talent in similar positions in comparably-sized cities. Salary.com, PayScale.com, and the BLS are great resources. If you’ve just entered the workforce from college, the National Association of Colleges and Employers has a lot of useful information. When you give your boss your proposal, go for the highest range. You’ll want to have room to negotiate down.
7. Change Your Attitude
There’s a difference between asking for more money and asserting your value to the organization. Demonstrate your desire to help and your ability to contribute to the business’s success. No one wants to hear someone whine and complain. Let your boss know that you are committed to the company, that you enjoy your work, and that you’re more than happy to take on additional responsibilities.
Be prepared for a “no,” and be ready to negotiate for anything else that is important to you, such as a better title, an expanded team, an assistant, more flexibility, increased vacation time, or improved benefits.
9. Document It
Write up what you agreed to in a formal memorandum and email it to your boss and your HR rep. Add all the pertinent details, such as the amount of the raise, the effective pay period, title changes, and anything else you agreed to.
10. Follow Up
If you had to accept a smaller raise than you wanted, agree to it for a six-month period with a promise to renegotiate based on your performance.
Do your homework, and don’t sell yourself short.
Now go forth and conquer!
This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post. For more from Rana Florida, check out Upgrade, Taking Your Work and Life from Ordinary to Extraordinary.