Getting a raise should be the first thing you think about when the subject of increasing your income becomes important. Of all the things you can do to better your monthly finances - starting a home business, getting a part-time job, studying for a degree, etc. - having your current pay increased at your present place of employment tops the list. It is the quickest and easiest of all your options. One quick meeting with your employer results in hundreds of extra dollars being deposited into your bank account every month!
So who should ask for a raise? Anybody who hasn't had one in a while, is underpaid for their level of skill and/or experience, or has really been going the extra mile in their job performance over any reasonable length of time (weeks, not days). If your paycheck comes from the government, you fall outside the realm of people that can ask for a raise, because raises are dealt out in a pre-defined schedule. However, many governmental positions assign the "level" of your raise according to a supervisor's periodic performance review. Government workers would do well to pay attention to some of the advice I am about to give, so they can nudge their next pay raise up a level.
The actual meeting where you put in your pay increase request doesn't take very long. It's a mistake to focus on the meeting itself in your quest. It's also a mistake to have the meeting spontaneously. You want to set that up at the end of a carefully crafted campaign, which you implement over the course of several weeks (or more). The meeting the finishing touch to the process, and if you set it up right, you will be walking into it with a professional level of confidence.
Now, if you are thinking about coming in early with bagels and staying late to finish up working on projects, you have the right idea. But much more important is the visibility you have to your superiors in your actual work ethic. That means getting your work done, and done well, and done quickly - and then getting with your superior to let them know you are finished and can take on more work! But don't just do that; also casually communicate (without making it obvious) some issues that popped up and how you creatively solved them in the process. You basically want to wow your bosses for a few weeks. That's right, you need to keep this up for several weeks straight!
If you belong to an office click, avoid hanging out with the gang during your campaign. There might be a person or two in the crowd that your supervisors aren't crazy about, and you don't want to be associated with anybody. Stand out as an individual, but of course still play well with others and be a team player. Recruit allies in other departments, especially supervisors, if you work in the kind of environment where your boss will do some research before making a decision.
When you do have the meeting with your supervisor, don't let them know exactly why you want to see them if you can help it. Otherwise they may creatively find ways to put that meeting off, or prepare a reasonable rebuttal as to why the company can't afford it at the moment. Ask for more responsibility while you are asking for your raise, but don't turn it into a promotion request only. You are there to get a pay increase that you already deserve for your high level of performance at your current position, which you have been absolutely cranking at lately.
Don't present your request as an ultimatum. Act like a company-loyal fixture who is in it for the long haul. Don't quote co-worker's salaries or base you argument on what others are making. Let your work performance speak for itself. Do mention the low-income lifestyle that your current pay is restricting you to, and that you feel you deserve better. (This is a very subtle way of suggesting you may have to seek employment elsewhere, even though you would hate to, if you are not properly taken care of.) If you do the setup well, you will control the meeting and your request should be a slam-dunk.
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Andrew Kasch can help you with more tips and tricks for successfully requesting a pay raise at his website, www.howtoaskforaraise.info
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