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5 Steps to Getting a Raise

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While December is poised to bring gifts and possible Pumpkin Spice Latte overdoses, the last month of the year hosts one extremely important career event: your year-end review.

The meeting, commonly referred to as “Show Me The Money,” is the prime opportunity to ask for a raise. Think you have the skills that necessitate more bills? Here’s how to ask for a raise without pulling a Tom Cruise-inspired walkout.

1. State your case.

Contrary to popular belief, employees aren’t given a raise, they earn one. Come prepared with solid evidence that showcases your need for a salary increase. Include actionable items such as new projects and responsibilities you’ve taken on throughout year and positive feedback from work associates regarding your performance and how you’ve exceeded your yearly objectives.

2. Don’t compare yourself to others.

A year-end review is about your personal career growth and isn’t intended to be a bitch-fest. Never discount your colleagues’ work (or lack thereof) during the review. Generally, senior management is aware of the company slackers and will deal with them accordingly. Keep the conversation focused on your strengths, not others’ weaknesses.

3. Be bamboo: firm but flexible.

Extenuating circumstances (budget cuts, year-end profit loss, or an internal company restructure) may inhibit your pay increase. Negotiate for an increase on a sliding scale, such as a bump in pay in January and another in July. If a sliding scale raise isn’t an option, nail down a realistic date (first quarter, mid-year, etc.) for the full amount.

4. Beware the dangling carrot.

A colleague once worked for an extremely prestigious magazine where she was paid a pittance. However, the company used the lure of glamorous parties, exotic travel, and enough freebies to open an online boutique to excuse her dismal wages. Lipstick doesn’t pay your rent, fashion week parties grow tiresome (same people, different clothes), and a fair salary means you can fund your own adventures.

5. Know when to fold ‘em.

One of the harshest realizations is that a raise just isn’t in the cards. If you’ve been denied a salary increase for more than two years, it’s time to redo your resume and start job-hunting. If this is the first denial, set objectives with your line manager to ensure an increase during the next annual review.

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Photo: rabidsquirrel / Pixabay

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