How to Ask For an Overdue Raise

How to Ask for an Overdue Raise

By Randall Hansen / October 7, 2015

  Employers appear to be thriving in the post-recession economy, but worker salaries aren't keeping pace. If your salary isn't rising fast enough to keep up with your expenses, it's time to get the raise you need and deserve.   At the peak of the recession, unemployment hovered around 10 percent and stagnant wages cut deep into the financial stability of households struggling to keep up with the rising cost of basic expenses.   Fortunately, the worst of the downturn is well behind us. So far, 2014 was the best post-recession year for the job market and the average American household. Employers added about 2.95 million new jobs, and unemployment rates dropped to about 5.2 percent. In 2015, the positive growth curve continues to snake upward, but a stubborn problem remains: across multiple industry sectors, salaries have not been keeping pace with the increase of opportunity nor the rising cost of living.   If your salary seems to be caught in a holding pattern and your annual raises have stalled or disappeared altogether, what should you do? How can you convince your boss to bring your wage growth back on track?   Keep these considerations in mind.  

Things Won't Change on Their Own

  No matter how well you get along with your direct supervisor or how much you contribute to the company using your talents and your hard work, one fact remains: Your employer will happily pay you the lowest salary that you're willing to accept. If your salary is too low to meet your needs or compensate for your contributions, this affects no one in the company but you. Until you speak up, nothing will change. Don't expect favors to fall from above, and don't assume that the moment company profits begin to rise, you'll feel the effects at your level. A salary increase will require action on your part.  

Consider your Leverage

  Again, if you request a salary increase, your employer will need some convincing. At the very least, the matter will be investigated, and the investigation will begin with one question: Why? Why should you be paid more? In order to answer, you'll need to free yourself from your dependence on this job. What can you do to increase or demonstrate your value to other employers? Could you easily find another job? What are the market rates for your specific talents and skills? Where would you turn if you had to find work elsewhere? Are you willing and able to go back to school to expand your skill sets? Recognize your options – but don't threaten your employer with these - and you'll increase your bargaining power.  

Set the Rules

  Before you approach your boss, know exactly what you plan to say, know the exact amount you intend to request, and know exactly how you'll respond in the event of a no. Don't simply place the conversation in your supervisor's hands and place yourself at the company's mercy. Make your expectations clear and establish a clear course of action if the company ignores your request or gives you the runaround. For example, if your boss answers by saying something vague like, “I'll look into it,” clarify how long this will take so you can set a date for a follow-up meeting.  

State, Don't Ask

  When you request your salary increase, recognize that you're “asking” for something that technically belongs to you. You've earned this increase; it isn't a benevolent favor. Make sure this shows in your confident body language. Make your request in a seated position, during an established meeting session. Don't chase your boss down the hallway blurting your request while competing with other distractions and demands. During your meeting, make clear eye contact and prevent your sentences from rising in pitch at the end as if you're turning your statements into questions. Be ready to share the research that led you to the number on which you've settled, and be prepared to prove how you've added value to the company.   --- For more information about getting a salary bump, visit QuintCareers Getting the Raise You Deserve page.

8 Skills That Will Help You Land the Job

By Giana / January 25, 2017

You found a job post that suits you perfectly. You can check off each of the required credentials, the location is perfect, and you recognize and respect the company and its brand. You’re ready to apply, but do you have the skills you need to land the job? If current technical skills match up to the daily tasks and responsibilities of this role, how do you convey that message clearly to set yourself apart from your competition? If you possess the following eight skills in addition to your professional experience, your odds of landing the job will increase exponentially. 1. Take Action Some people see something they want and go for it, while others waste time procrastinating or overthinking next steps until they are overwhelmed. Don’t be that person. When it’s time to act, act. Pay attention to the details, but don’t sweat the details to the point of paralysis. Don’t be afraid of mistakes; be afraid of inaction, missed deadlines, and missed opportunities. 2. Employ Empathy Empathy is the special skill that allows us to see the world from another person’s point of view. During a job search, empathy can be a very powerful tool. Read between the lines of the job post and apply your empathy. What are the employer’s needs? What kind of cultural match are they looking for? Having the ability to see the position through the eyes of the recruiter – and write your resume and cover letter to address their needs – is a special skill that will get you far. 3. Work on Your Writing Skills Before you meet your potential employers in person during an interview, you’ll first need to get their attention using your written words. You may not be a brilliant poet or world-changing speech writer, but can still make a concise and compelling case for yourself by answering two questions: What are the skills you possess that will allow you to handle this job? And what can you offer the employer that no other candidate can offer? Clearly state these responses in your resume and cover letter. Edit your work and have a friend proofread the final result for clarity and typos. 4. Perfect Your Phone Skills Can you bring employers over to your side during a ten-minute phone chat? You certainly can if you can perfect the art of the telephone interview. Prepare and practice your elevator pitch. Keep your voice measured and calm, but also engaged and energetic. Stand up while you speak, and smile. Both of these things can be heard in your voice. 5. Hone Your Listening Skills Don’t make your employer share the same details and information multiple times. To avoid asking the same questions over and over, write it down all relevant information. This includes the proper names of the people you interview with, names of clients, and all company divisions. 6. Market Yourself During a job search, you are the product and products need to be marketed in order to sell. Do you know how to pitch your accomplishments and abilities in a way that’s truthful, but not boastful? Do you now how to form a personal connection with your audience, which in this case is the hiring manager? Do you know how to grab attention in a positive way, and embed yourself in your employer’s memory after your interaction ends? Your marketing skills are important during your job search so don’t be shy. 7. Dress for Success Your interview outfit should demonstrate your respect for the opportunity so never arrive looking sloppy or disheveled. It should be clear that you considered your audience and your venue when choosing your outfit. Your clothes should be appropriate for the office culture. If you are unsure of how to dress, read company reviews online or ask the hiring manager. 8. Don’t Forget the Follow Up When you start something, finish it. After your interview, call or send a message within a day to thank the interviewers for their time. A well-written thank you note is a great way to reiterate your interest and engagement and leave a good impression with the hiring manager. During your job search process, check in with LiveCareer and use the tools on the site to keep your search—and the growth of your long-term career—on track.
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5 Tips for Getting the Salary You Deserve

By Giana / January 23, 2017

The year is coming to an end, and for most employers, this means housekeeping duties, like budget reviews, performance evaluations, staffing shake-ups, promotions, and payroll changes, are in high-gear: Employees who are hoping for a promotion or transfer would be wise to make a formal request before the end of December. If you’d like to bring home a bigger paycheck or better benefits next year, now is the best time to make your move. Here are five tips to help you get the salary you deserve. 1. Set a meeting Instead of asking your boss for a raise in the hallway or break room, request a formal meeting. Do this verbally if you’d like, but always follow up with a written message to confirm the time and place. If possible, send a calendar invitation to be sure you have time blocked off for your discussion. 2. Gather your notes You deserve a higher salary. After all, the standard cost of living rises incrementally every year, and with each year you spend in this workplace, you gain experience and value as an employee. However, there are likely some specific reasons why you’re requesting a salary increase, and these have to do with your performance and contributions. Jot down a list of your major accomplishments during the past year, and bring it with you to the meeting. Having a list on hand will help you explain all the ways in which you’ve contributed more than the minimum. 3. Don’t expect an easy conversation There’s a chance that you’ll ask your boss for a 10% raise, she’ll cheerfully say yes, and you’ll get on with your day. However, there’s a stronger likelihood that your boss will push back and present a list of reasons to deny your request. Be prepared to hold your ground and negotiate. 4. Ask for more than you need If your goal is a 5% raise, ask for 7%. You’ll need to leave some room for your boss to counter your initial request. The more you ask for (within reason), the higher the final number will be after a few rounds of back-and-forth. 5. Be ready for anything. Your boss may challenge you on the specifics of your accomplishments, and you may be told (either in words or by insinuation) that you aren’t the star employee you thought you were, or that your request for a raise reflects selfishness, entitlement or worse. Shrug these things off. These tactics are commonly deployed on younger and less-experienced employees who often don’t have the tools to push back. If you’ve worked hard and you know the market value of your skills and title, stand strong. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Also, have a backup plan in mind. If you don’t get what you need from this interaction, be ready to turn your attention toward the job market and start searching for work elsewhere. LiveCareer can help! Use the tools on the site to find an employer who can respect your skills and compensate you for your contributions.
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The Office Holiday Party: A Survival Guide

By Giana / December 12, 2016

Every year in mid-December, employers like to show their appreciation, largesse, and respect for holiday traditions with a soiree as grand as the company budget allows. There’s no better way to celebrate corporate bounty and bring employees together than a fun, relaxed gathering with plenty of free-flowing booze. Sounds like a great time, right? There’s just one catch: As experienced employees know, the holiday party is not all about fun, it’s not the time guzzle drinks, and it’s certainly not time to let your hair down the way you might at a friend’s party. If you’re concerned about the growth of your career, don’t cut loose. You should treat this party as an opportunity, and consider it just another day (or night) at the office, even though you might be off-site. Here’s how to have a great time at this year’s holiday party while ensuring your boss and coworkers still respect you in the morning.

Commit

Don’t waffle. Just go. Clear your schedule and show up. Don’t wait until the last minute to RSVP, don’t respond with a “maybe,” and don’t plan to make it a quick stop and then head for the door. Make a night of it. This event is management’s gift to their employees and should be handled with respect. If you can’t make the party, respond promptly with your apologies.

Bring your best self

Eat food with substance (like almonds or a cheese sandwich) before the party so that you’re armed with energy and steady blood sugar. You don’t want to have to depend on champagne and canapés for sustenance. Approach clients and colleagues you don’t already know and mingle like it’s your job…because it is. Instead of thinking about the fun you’re going to have (or the misery you’re going to endure), focus on making sure others have a good time. To do this, you’ll need to put on your game face and bring a genuine positive attitude.

Stop at two drinks

Fill your glass at the beginning of the event, drain it slowly, then move onto a few rounds of water or soda. In an hour or two, you’ll be ready for your second drink. A few hours later, and you’ll be ready to leave. Pacing is everything. If you’re losing track of the drinks you’ve had, you’ve had too many and it’s time to cut yourself off. Remember: This isn’t really a party. It’s work, and drinking at work is usually not a good idea.

Be yourself

During the regular workday, you may not feel comfortable talking about your family life, your friends, your hobbies or your personal past. It’s wise to follow that instinct, for the most part. But the holiday party gives you an opportunity to share some of your real personality while staying within the bounds of professionalism. While you’re at it, ask others about themselves and employ your listening skills when they answer. This is a great time to connect with those you rarely get to interact with during the workday.

Don’t make it all business

If you really want a deadline extension, a raise, a promotion, a more flexible project budget, or a certain plumb assignment, lay the groundwork by schmoozing with those who can help you, but don’t ask directly at the holiday party. There’s a time and a place, and if you engage in non-work-related banter now, you can follow up and get what you need later, during regular business hours.

Avoid oversharing

The holiday party may seem like a great time to tell people what you really think — about a client, about a political event, or about an annoying colleague — but it isn’t. Always think before you speak, party or no party, especially if you have been drinking.

Take in the spectacle

When will you have another chance to sit with your boss and nerd out over your favorite movie franchise? When will you get to see Doris from accounting drunk and tearing it up on the dance floor? Or to flirt with your office crush without raising an eyebrow? Never again! At least not until next year. So enjoy the side of your coworkers that you rarely get to see. Just make sure you’re part of the audience, not the show. For more on how to keep your career on an even keel as you navigate the drama of the holiday season, turn to the experts at LiveCareer.
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