Talking about money can be a really uncomfortable thing, especially when it means asking for it. This can be one of the most awkward career conversations you ever have. However, it is a conversation that you most definitely have to have and should have. It is important to understand your worth in a company and know when you are being underpaid or undervalued. So if you are looking to ask for a raise here is my advice.
My first comment is this, manage your expectations. Most people will not receive a raise in their first year with a company. And we are currently living in an economy that has left annual raises out of the picture. It is a common misconception that you are owed a raise every year to correlate with inflation. Unfortunately, this is not the norm anymore.
Start with research to determine the number you are going to ask for. Usually the best source of salary information is compensation market data that is pulled by large consulting firms but that is very expensive and hard to come by. However, this is the information companies use to determine their salary ranges. This is different from those websites you can use to determine the average salary in your career (ie. Glassdoor, Pay Scale), these are typically not as accurate but can be a good place to start. I would recommend looking through job postings for rates that are being offered in the current market. For example, if you are a customer service representative, google job listings and see how much companies are offering, then factor in your experience. Do your research before you go into a salary meeting.
Before setting up your meeting, consider your organization’s specific salary practices. Chances are your company has a salary range for your role, meaning there is room to move up. You typically move up this range as you progress further in your career. Also companies typically give raises end of year or midyear so align your meeting with those times, whichever makes sense in your office.
So once you decide you are going to ask for a raise here is what you need to do. Book a private meeting with your boss, face to face is best but if remote a phone call is fine. Start the conversation with a quick debrief on the work you have been doing lately. Then let them know that you would like them to consider you for a raise. When having a salary conversation with your supervisor be sure to prepare all of the facts. Mention a few reasons as to why you deserve a raise, these reasons should be factual evidence of your excellent performance. For example, “your role in a proposal led to solidifying a new client relationship”. Figure out the amount you would like before you go in and then ask for more. For example, if you are looking to make $50,000/year I would recommend asking for $52,000. Finish the conversation by giving them the number and then thank them for considering it.
It is important to consider the way you communicate this, you must be confident but at the same time professional. If you have a good manager, they will likely continue the conversation and let you know if your request is reasonable and when they will be able to get back to you with more information. Follow up in about 3-5 days and simply ask if they have had any time to go over your salary request.
Another thing to consider is total rewards. Do you get benefits? A company car? All of these things factor into your total compensation, not just your hourly rate.
If you are asked for your expected salary range in a job interview or application, again it is best to have the number you want in mind before you go in. Do your research. Always give them a range, again if you are looking for $50,000 then make sure you tell them $49,000-54,000. This number might change based on the company you are talking to; start-ups might not be able to offer as much as larger corporations. Again, think about total rewards. Ask the company what type of benefits they offer before you give them your range.
At the recruitment stage this can be a balancing act because it is very common for people to ask for too much money which turns off employers. To determine your worth, consider your skill set, education, experience and the market availability in your job.
Finally, any time you are talking about money with a manger or recruiter be sure to go in with an open mind and be welcome to the conversation. This is business and you can’t be afraid you ask for what you want. Any great company will pay you your worth, which is why it is most important for you to figure that out first.