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VOL. 35 | NO. 19 | Friday, May 13, 2011

Make your case for a raise with research, right attitude

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You are likely to hold many positions during your career. You also will receive many raises. But like most people, you probably don’t know how to ask for a raise or the best compensation package.

The first step you need to take is to find out how much your position is worth. Do a little research. Check with the U. S. Department of Labor at your local library branch (or website), your state’s department of work force development, trade associations related to your field or your employer’s human resource department.

Take into consideration your years of experience and education. Realize that the area of the country you live in can make a difference in compensation when comparing national figures.

Consider the relationship with your boss. Can you walk in and start talking, or is the relationship more formal? How will your boss react? Will he/she be receptive or defensive? Your judgment is important in this situation.

Take a look at how well your employer is doing financially. Timing may not be right if they are in a cutback mode.

Have others received raises above the usual annual cost of living increase? If others are receiving or have recently received raises maybe it is a good time to take action.

Ask yourself if you have made significant contributions to your employer within the realm of the position. These can be recent contributions or over time. Employers are more often likely to give significant raises or promotions to employees that have a history of good job performance.

Does your boss know of your contributions? Realize he/she is busy and can’t keep up with what everyone is doing. Don’t leave it up to your boss to know everything you do. Tell him. It is not bragging to let superiors know you are doing a good job.

After gathering information and taking into consideration all of the mentioned factors, it is time to set up a plan of action. Try to aim high within realistic terms. Pick a time that will be the most advantageous to talk with your boss including your annual evaluation.

Your approach should have a positive tone. Be persuasive, be organized, indicate your contributions and state what you want.

If things don’t go like you hope, be prepared to set up a long-term approach. Lay the groundwork for the future. Ask your boss what areas you need to improve. Ask what actions you need to take and then follow them.

Make sure you are visible with your actions and new accomplishments. Continued interaction with your boss is important. Use informal follow-up conversations when appropriate.

Don’t forget to do the little things bosses look for from outstanding employees. Be to work on time. Respond with a positive can do attitude. Leave personal problems at home. Don’t take unnecessary sick days.

Don’t get mad or defensive if you do not agree with your boss’ performance evaluation. Discuss it in a positive manner. This is your chance to influence his opinion, not only now, but also in the future.

The key to success for a raise is to put yourself in a good position from the outset and then not being afraid to ask for what you want. A positive can do attitude will pay dividends.

M.B. Owens is a Nashville-based columnist and journalist with a decade of experience writing on employment topics and business. He can be reached at mariusowens@aol.com.

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