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31 Tips for Getting the Raise You Deserve

Author: Maurie Backman | February 07, 2020

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Boost your earnings

Maybe you can't remember the last time you got a raise. Or maybe you recently got one, but the number is nowhere close to what you wanted. You shouldn't hesitate to fight for what you think is a reasonable wage, and here are a few tactics to employ to help you get what you want.

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1. Commit to continuously improving

As a general rule, the better you get at your role, the easier it'll be to make the case for a raise. Think about the ways you can improve within the context of your current position, whether it's tightening up your presentations or getting better at compiling data, and make an effort to wow your boss and peers with your progress.

ALSO READ: 3 Mistakes to Avoid After Getting a Raise

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2. Focus on boosting one essential role-specific skill you're lacking

Maybe there's a key skill related to your role that you clearly need to work on. While it's smart to try to do better in general, you should especially focus your efforts on the one thing that may be holding you back, whether it's poor public speaking skills or difficulty being succinct in reports.

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3. Work on your soft skills

There are certain skills that apply to any job, like organization, communication, and time management. Improving in these areas is another good way to position yourself for a raise, since they show that you're generally well-rounded.

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4. Learn a skill no one else on your team has

Being the sole person on your team who's mastered a desirable skill could position you for a solid raise. Figure out what your team is lacking and fill in that gap, especially if it's a technical skill that's tricky to conquer.

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5. Volunteer more often

When new assignments pop up or priorities arise, someone has to step up and handle them. Be that person, and your boss is bound to appreciate it. That's also a good way to convince your manager to reward you monetarily.

ALSO READ: 4 Money Moves to Make After Getting a Raise

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6. Take on more responsibility -- without being asked

It's one thing to agree to tackle a task no one else wants. But if you proactively identify work that needs to be done, and complete it without your manager having to ask, that's another solid means of positioning yourself for a raise.

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7. Seek out promotions

Climbing the ladder often results in a pay boost, so be sure to seek out promotions at your company. And if there are no open roles a level above yours, create one and make that case to your employer.

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8. Step outside your comfort zone

Taking on a task or project that scares you -- and that's well outside the usual course of what you do -- is a good way to prove to your manager that you're not afraid of being challenged. And that's a quality that's often rewarded financially.

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9. Have a positive attitude

What does attitude have to do with money? A lot, actually. If you maintain a positive outlook and avoid complaining, your boss may be more easily swayed to boost your pay as a thank you.

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10. Take classes to boost your knowledge

Sometimes you need to invest a little time and money into getting better at your job. The good news is that there's plenty of online coursework designed to help you improve professionally, so don't hesitate to sink some resources into positioning yourself for a pay boost.

ALSO READ: Can the Strong Job Market Help You Get a Raise?

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11. Get a professional certification

Being certified in a skill shows that you're highly proficient in it. That could be just the thing that helps you prove to your employer that you're serious about succeeding, and should be compensated in a manner that reflects that.

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12. Understand your manager's priorities

Knowing what makes your boss tick could help you focus your efforts in just the right way. Observe your manager carefully to see where his or her priorities lie, and if the answer still isn't clear, ask. Your boss will appreciate you making the effort, and that appreciation could eventually translate into more money.

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13. Take time-consuming tasks off your boss's plate

Nothing adds value like freeing up a chunk of your manager's time. If you're able to take over some of the things your boss is burdened with, your manager is apt to be grateful -- so much so that a raise may come your way.

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14. Schedule a raise talk with your boss

A higher paycheck isn't something you should discuss with your manager on the fly. Rather, it warrants its own conversation. Ask your boss for a meeting and make it clear that you want to talk numbers so your manager isn't caught off-guard.

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15. Research salary data for your role

Negotiating a raise successfully hinges on knowing what your industry on a whole is paying. Before you ask for a raise, do some digging online to see what the typical person in your position earns. For a more accurate comparison, find local salary data, as opposed to nationwide data, because if you live in a metro area, salaries may be inflated to reflect the higher cost of living.

ALSO READ: Got a Raise This Year? 4 Ways to Make the Most of It

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16. Dig up salary data at your company (but only if it's allowed)

If it comes to your attention that most of your peers make more money than you despite similar qualifications, that's reason enough to ask for a raise. That's why it's important to talk salary with your colleagues, provided your employer doesn't prohibit that (some companies do). Of course, you'll need to be prepared to share your salary details, but finding out what the people around you earn will help you build your case.

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17. Be prepared to talk up your worth

To sway your boss to grant you a raise, you'll need to prove that you add unique value to your company -- so come in prepared with a list of ways you do so. Maybe you're the person who responds to emergency calls most often on weekends; or maybe you're the person who reviews team reports for grammar and consistency before they're sent out. Focus on the contributions your team really can't do without.

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18. Gather hard data to back up your claims

It's one thing to call yourself a valuable employee, but it's another thing to prove that's the case using numbers. If you have data in support of that claim, bring it with you when you sit down with your boss. For example, if your sales training helped close 15% more deals last quarter, call that statistic out.

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19. Take emotions out of the picture

Feeling inadequately paid is a frustrating position to be in. But stay cool when talking salary with your manager, and make every effort possible to avoid crying or getting upset. You'll come across as more professional if you keep your tone even.

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20. Don't make it personal

Maybe you're drowning in debt or are stressed about your bills. Be that as it may, you shouldn't use your increased rent or rising child care costs as a reason for your raise. Those issues may be fueling your pursuit of more money, but frankly, that's not your employer's problem and really shouldn't factor into your manager's decision. Any salary increase you're given should be money you've earned and deserve.

ALSO READ: 4 Steps to Take Before Asking for a Raise

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21. Talk about why you enjoy working for your manager

Asking for a raise is an inherent criticism of your boss -- namely, that he or she isn't paying you enough. To offset that, be sure to include some positive statements in that discussion. Review the many ways your manager has helped you grow professionally, and highlight the things you enjoy about being on your team to help soften the blow.

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22. Gather endorsements from peers

If you're the type to help others out or troubleshoot problems that save other people a collective headache, it never hurts to have them document that in writing. Before asking for a raise, request that some of your colleagues provide endorsements that speak to your value, and don't be shy about sharing them with your manager.

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23. Time your conversation just right

When it comes to requesting a raise, timing is everything. It pays to schedule that discussion soon after a big project is wrapped up successfully, or after a period during which you've clearly burned the midnight oil to help your team out.

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24. Have a specific number in mind

You're more likely to get a raise you're happy with when you walk in and present a specific number, as opposed to telling your boss you're looking to earn more and leaving the details to him or her. Researching salary data for your role ahead of time will help you narrow that number down.

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25. Ask for a little more than what you expect to get

Any time you ask for a raise, it pays to request a little more money than the number you're hoping to snag. That gives you some wiggle room to negotiate, and it gives your manager the same.

ALSO READ: 3 Reasons You Should Ask for a Raise

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26. But don't be greedy

It's a good idea to inflate your numbers slightly when requesting a raise, but don't go overboard. If you do, you'll come off as greedy, and your boss might fail to take you seriously if your ask is unrealistic.

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27. Do a trial run

Negotiating salary can be a nerve-wracking experience. Before you do it, enlist the help of a friend who can run through that conversation with you. That way, you can practice your pitch ahead of time and iron out any kinks that may trip you up.

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28. Seek out counteroffers

Even if you make a compelling pitch for a raise, you may not get what you want. At that point, it's not a bad idea to go out and seek counteroffers from other companies to use as leverage. But if you're going to go that route, be prepared to leave your job if your employer is unable or unwilling to match the numbers you've been presented with.

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29. Don't settle for "no"

If your manager denies your request for a raise, don't just glumly accept that answer and move on. Instead, state that you'd like to revisit the conversation in three months, and ask what you can do between now and then to get what you want.

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30. When all else fails, ask for non-monetary perks

Maybe your manager isn't in a position to give you more money at present -- say, due to a budget freeze at work. But that doesn't mean you can't ask for something else instead. If a raise if off the table, see if your boss will fight to get you better benefits. Additional paid time off, for example, is worth something in its own right.

ALSO READ: 78% of Americans Believe They'll Be Better Off Financially in 2020

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31. Be in charge of your own income

If your employer can't pay you the salary you want, consider venturing out as an independent contractor, where you can set your own rates and have more control over your wages. You'll forgo some paid benefits, like vacation time and health insurance, but if your earnings go up substantially, that's a sacrifice worth making.

5 Winning Stocks Under $49
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