Four Ways to Strategically Ask for a Raise

January 18, 2022

I found my calling in life way too late. I spent over a decade working in academia as a teacher and academic advisor. And I absolutely hated the job.

I just thought that is what I had to do to get by in life. To just pay my bills, work every weekday, and pray for a 14-day vacation every year.

And salary? I worked entry-level for many years and never even thought of asking for a pay raise. When my department got a new supervisor he fairly and automatically gave me a small pay raise.

I was too much of a neo-beatnik I think to even consider how I could bureaucratically improve my station in life when it comes to office politics.

But you dear reader, I know you have to deal with things like this every day. I am a freelance writer, and I am traveling internationally. My life did not come easy, I had to sacrifice for it, and it isn’t for everyone.

No, you are normal, and there is nothing wrong with that. (I wish I was sometimes.) And normal people have to know their vocational value and fight for every penny that they are worth when they get paid.

Life is hard enough, and it is just harder when you work a job that is not paying commensurately to your experience and skill.

So, here are four ways to strategically ask for a pay raise.

Be Prepared to Negotiate

When you go talk to your boss about a pay raise, always have a neutral poker face, be diplomatic, and be prepared to negotiate.

Don’t start the conversation with an angry or entitled tone. And whatever you do, don’t issue ultimatums, demand an immediate decision, or threaten to walk off the job if you don’t get what you want.

What will you do if your boss calls your bluff?

Be prepared to listen and consider your boss’ point of view and then react appropriately.

Know Salary Standards

You are fighting an uphill battle if you are trying to get your boss to pay you a salary above an industry scale you meet.

You may have more of a chance if your salary is markedly below current industry standards.

And this is no time to be coy – tell your boss exactly how much you want in a salary

Offer an amount that can then be used for negotiation.

List Major Accomplishments

You should also have notes detailing your experience and major accomplishments at the job. Coming to work on time every day may not be enough. What personal contributions and actions have secured major deals or accomplishments at the job.

Make sure you have paper trails and proof to verify your claims.

Respectfully use this data to justify a pay increase.

Alternative Compensation?

A pay raise does not always have to equate to more money in your bank account. While more money would be great, is there any way that you can negotiate with your boss for alternative forms of compensation if they say no?

After all, you could ask for the right to telecommute. Or you can ask for tuition reimbursement for online classes or certification. Or you could ask for increased vacation time or full or partial reimbursement for daycare services.

You may be more successful by being negotiable than not.

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