There is only one reason to ask for a raise—to make more money. And holding a short conversation with your boss in order to obtain a financial boost that will carry into the indefinite future should not be seen as a true obstacle standing between you and a better standard of living. One of the main problems is that most people think that asking for a raise is all about timing and presentation. On the one hand, you don’t want to create a negative relationship with your boss by being too demanding, but the reality of the situation is that your raise has probably been decided on before you ever bring it up. But before you run off to your boss with unrealistic hopes, make sure you’re adhering to the following steps so that you can prove to the Big Man (or Woman) that you deserve what you are asking for.
First, it is important to understand that simply having considerable experience at a job does not equate to added value for your employer. In reality, the more value you are to the company the more money they will pay you; experience does not generally merit higher financial benefits. And while this may dishearten some long-time employees whose professional mantra is to “just put in your time and stay under the radar,” to hard working, committed, and outstanding employees this means you can actually earn a raise instead of passively waiting for a “time-served” pay hike. But to do this you must first honestly discuss with yourself how much value you truly provide your employer. Your answer can help you realize where you can show initiative and accomplishment to show your manager that you are capable of more than you are currently doing.
Second, after you understand your true value to a company, look for ways to increase that value. Take on additional projects, volunteer for additional responsibilities, and show your enthusiasm for your work at all times. In due time, this visible desire to go above and beyond will be noticed and rewarded. All you need to do to start is make a list of potential projects or other activities you can potentially take on at work. Jump in and participate wherever you can.
In addition to keeping track of your accomplishments, go straight to your boss and directly ask if he or she has suggestions for additional tasks that you can do. Make sure your boss knows that you are looking to take on more responsibilities. If you receive suggestions then you know exactly where to start. But if you are put off, that’s okay too. This simply means that you will have to prove to your boss that you really mean business.
Don’t let your boss dismiss you with a brief “I’ll get back to you on that.” Follow up after about a week, but not before you’ve constructed a list of tasks that you can perform to help improve your company. Not many employees take such initiative so you will immediately stand out among your peers and show your boss that you are serious about increasing your value. You should come away with at least one extra assignment that you can do.
Finally, don’t take your new responsibilities lying down—excel. Collect proof of your stellar work as evidence of your enhanced value. Feedback from clients or coworkers can be very valuable so be sure to record compliments in writing and save any successful material from past projects as a reference to your work. The more proof you have when you shoot for a raise the easier time you will have arguing for why you deserve it.