Going into a conversation with your manager or boss knowing you’ll be asking for a raise or promotion can be nerve-wracking, so the best thing you can do is to be prepared and put your best foot forward. Saying the wrong thing — or neglecting to say the right thing — can cost you that pay bump.
Not Being Prepared With a List of Accomplishments
Simply fulfilling your work responsibilities likely won’t be enough to get that raise. You will need to present your manager with tangible accomplishments that demonstrate your value to the company.
“I always suggest to my clients to keep a Google Doc with all your achievements, no matter how small, whether it’s good feedback from a client or completing a project,” said interview coach Margaret Buj. “This will come in handy when you have to prepare for a performance review or a promotional conversation.”
Waiting for Your Perfomance Review
If you have an annual performance review, this is actually not the ideal time to ask for a raise.
“A pay raise is something that needs to be discussed three months in advance, as by the time the performance review comes, your boss probably has a specific number in mind (which might be a lot lower than what you’re hoping for) and it might have already been approved by HR,” Buj said.
Asking During a Time of Uncertainty at Your Company
Sometimes, when you ask is just as important as how you ask. If your company is going through a tough time, your request is likely to be rejected.
“You shouldn’t ask during hiring freezes or layoffs,” said Mark Anthony Dyson, founder of The Voice of Job Seekers.
You should never approach a request for a promotion or raise as an ultimatum.
“Don’t make threats,” said Leigh Yanocha, managing director and head of people strategy at Knopman Marks Financial Training. “Keep the conversation positive; this is a showcase of how well you are doing and the drive you bring to work. Don’t be pushy or wear your emotions on your sleeve. Be neutral and stay positive.”
Not Asking at All
You probably won’t get a raise or promotion unless you ask for it.
“One of the biggest mistakes people who want to get promoted make is to rely on their work to get noticed,” Buj said. “Unfortunately, just keeping our head down and producing results doesn’t really work.”
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