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Published on November 13th, 2012 | by Kelie Kyser

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How to Ask for a Raise in a Turbulent Economy

The  presidential election is over but our heads are still reeling with political jargon.  Incessant talk of the economy, unemployment rates, and hiring trends has us all on pins and needles.  There’s no doubt, the classic novel entitled “The American Dream” has been altered; specifically the chapter on the job market.  There’s red pen all over it, the revisions are discernible, and the final draft has been sent to print.

According to Robert Half Finance & Accounting, employers are on a diet when it comes to the acquisition of new talent, operating with a leaner crew. Tenured employees are being asked to do more while companies continue hiring less. If you’ve noticed an increased barrage of demands from your supervisor, you’re not the only one.

U.S. workers are collectively feeling the pressure to perform.  Being gainfully employed is something to be grateful for during these uncertain times; however, being taken advantage of is vile.  No one likes to talk about money, but in this locale, it’s necessary.  Harboring feelings of resentment will inevitably result in decreased productivity and stress.

If your task list is expanding and your salary is uninspiring; perhaps it’s time to ask for a raise.  Here’s how to negotiate compensation for increased responsibility:

Do your homework – The Occupational Outlook Handbook is an excellent resource.  It’s published biennially (every two years) and consists of information that will increase your knowledge of the industry in which you are employed. You will discover what is widely recognized as the norm for your current occupation (e.g., salary, responsibilities, and projected growth).  It will be easier to formulate a valid argument if you can demonstrate that your current task list far exceeds the standard.

Showcase your talent- Portfolios are not only essential for job seekers; they function as leverage for the employed pursuing an increase in pay and/or promotion.  The ability to avow your worth is largely contingent on being able to substantiate your case.  Exhibit innovation solutions, leadership initiatives, and money-making strategies you’ve pioneered while working with the organization.

Respect your employer and their time- Is your boss a morning person?  Does she or he suffer from a case of the Mondays every Monday?  Consider your methodology as well as the office atmosphere.   In this instance, the cliché is worthy of repeating “timing is everything”.  It is inconsiderate and potentially self-sabotaging to ambush your supervisor with a categorical demand.  Schedule a meeting and clarify the subject matter.  Make it clear the topic pertains to your posture in the organization.  Career Coach Lynn Ellis suggests the best time to ask for a raise is 5:00 p.m.

Keep your head towards the sky -Anticipate all outcomes and brace yourself for a “no”.  Rejection is a jagged pill to swallow, even so, keep your eye on the prize and don’t compromise your strategy.  Advance to plan B – ask for feedback.  Find out what (if anything) can be done to fortify your request. Tactfully inquire about the best time to revisit the topic. If you learn the likelihood is highly improbable; it may be time to move on and seek other employment options.  At least you know where you stand.  Don’t be disgruntled – be informed and primed to negotiate internally and externally if need be.

Are you being fairly compensated?  If not, what are you doing to rectify the situation?

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About the Author

is a reporting authority. Her talent lies in the ability to communicate succinct messages that are rich with information to a diverse audience. The Denver native holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s degree in organizational leadership.



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