Timing can be a key factor when asking for a raise. Here are five excellent opportunities to ask for a raise.
The first obvious opportunity is during your annual performance review, provided you have met or exceeded expectations.
You should approach your yearly evaluation with the same preparation you would make when interviewing for a new job. In a sense, you are re-interviewing for your current position. Complete the pre-work necessary to ensure the meeting is successful.
Prepare your list of accomplishments complete with results — ideally, monetizing them to demonstrate the value you have delivered in the last year.
Review comparable jobs to determine the current salary range for others doing similar work in your industry and geographic location. Why is this important? Because the longer you work for the same company, the less likely that your compensation will keep pace with the market.
You must know the going rate if you are going to successfully negotiate a competitive salary. And, when it is time to move on, you do not want to discover that you have been underpaid for the last five years.
A second perfect opportunity to negotiate a raise is after you have successfully completed a challenging project, delivered far more than expected or closed a big deal. Once again, preparation is vitally important. Know the relevant facts about why your achievement warrants a raise and what the market rate is for the value you can be counted on to deliver time and time again.
Always ask for a salary increase and title change when being offered a promotion. If you have earned a promotion, then you have earned a raise. Don’t be shy about asking for it.
Consider asking for a raise just prior to the development of your company’s annual budget. Doing so before the budget has been set is stone gives your boss a heads-up to include enough additional funds so that when the inevitable slicing and dicing of the numbers takes place there are still ample funds for your well-deserved increase.
You may also want to request a salary review at the end of a profitable year or the start of the new year, following a successful year.
In all cases, requesting an increase only makes sense when you deserve it. Time in the job is not a valid reason for asking for an increase (unless your raises have not kept pace with the market.) Neither is need. Value delivered for services rendered is the one legitimate reason for asking for a raise.
Having regular conversations with your boss about expectations, deliverables and how you can best support her will help smooth the way for a successful salary discussion. Periodically asking, “What can I do to make you more successful?” and following through on her suggestions will contribute to a collegiate atmosphere and remind her that you are on her team. Proactively identifying and strategizing solutions to upcoming challenges will demonstrate your continued interest in both her and the company’s success and lead to more productive conversations about compensation.
Finally, always express your appreciation when you are recognized with a raise or bonus. True appreciation is in short supply and expressing it goes a long way!