Knowing your worth and asking for a raise is never easy. We have the tendency to expect our employer to pay us fairly. When we do want a raise, we often come to the table with the wrong information and a weak presentation.  

While it’s perfectly acceptable to ask a co-worker, in a similar position, how much they get paid, you may not have all the information to ask for a similar salary.  There are some other factors in how much a person makes such as:

  • Tenure: If they’ve been there longer than you, understandably, they would have a larger salary.
  • Education: Your co-worker might have education you don’t know about.
  • There are certifications that you can get that result in a skill being learned or signaling a professional certification.

While you can’t do anything to increase your worth, in terms of tenure, you can increase your value by either getting more education or some type of certification. This doesn’t mean you have to return to college, necessarily. There are a lot of continuing education credits up for grab just by attending a lecture or webinar.

Deciding Your Worth

So, how else can you decide your worth? Take stock of where you started compared to where you are now. Have you gained any new skills or knowledge since you hired on? What about volunteer work? What you need to keep in mind is that once you land your job, you can’t stop gaining skills.

Your worth and value to your organization grows as you gain skills and knowledge. It’s all about remaining invaluable to your organization. Just because you got the job does not mean you stop trying to impress your boss and increasing your skillset.

That is another way to increase your value. See about mentorship programs in your organization and if they have cross-training opportunities. The more practical knowledge you have about your organization, the more value you bring. That can be an asset when asking for a raise.

A great way to gain some skills is LinkedIn. They offer several webinars based on how you have your profile set up. If you’re part of any professional associations, check and see if they offer any webinars or reduce cost certifications that would be applicable to your job.

When To Ask

Now that you have some idea of how to decide your worth, lets talk about timing. Yes, there is a right time and a wrong time to ask for a raise. It’s kind of like being a teenager and know when to ask for the car and when it was better not to.  And just like then there is also a right way to ask and a way that will get you denied.

It makes sense to wait until your boss is in a good mood. Asking for a raise after losing a client or having a bad quarter will almost guarantee you a no. There will never be a totally perfect time, just times that are better than others. And don’t go for a raise too close to a performance review. You might have some work to do to deserve the raise.

How To Ask

How to ask is just as important as knowing when to ask. While you might feel you have to fight for your raise, this is not a good time for a combative approach. That doesn’t mean you need to grovel either. Your best option here is to speak your truth and surround it with facts.

That doesn’t mean you present a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation filled with you top 10 highlights of the year. Give your pitch, state your case, but be brief. The longer the request the more it sounds like you are trying to justify asking for the raise to begin with versus simply stating what you feel you’re worth.

Find An Ally

Finding an ally doesn’t mean finding someone in management to go to bat for you. It means YOU reaching out to someone to partner with to advance your career. This will tell your boss that not only are you self-starter, but you are willing to improve yourself. Both characteristics brig value to the organization.

Your ally/mentor doesn’t necessarily need to be your supervisor or upper management. It can be a co-worker who has seniority. What your looking for is some who is willing to help you advance without expecting anything in return.

Check out the tidbits below and get prepared to learn how to figure out your worth!

  1. Keep a file of projects you work on and what your role was. Go to your boss armed with why you are valuable, and deserving, of a raise.
  2. Check out online job boards and see what wage is being offered for a position like yours. You don’t need to bring this up but use that as a starting point.
  3. Be open to other options other than a raise in pay. Maybe you can do with a dollar more an hour and some flexibility in hours or schedule. Know your worth and what you want for it!
  4. Talk to others in your field and industry. You don’t need to be specific. Ask them what someone in their organization would make for the same type of work you do.
  5. Plan ahead. When you have a job interview, there is nothing wrong with asking what the top level of pay is for your position at the five, 10, and 15-year mark. Use this information when asking for a raise in the future.

Knowing your value is important when asking for a raise, or even finding a job and agreeing upon a starting salary. It’s also important when wanting in on an important project or moving to a different department. You can increase your value by continuing to learn. Know what you bring to the table and you will have no problem getting the raise you deserve!