Do your research
â€¨Understand your employer's pay practices by asking Human Resources or reading the employee handbook. Do they have a standard procedure for negotiating pay raises -- like at the end of the fiscal year, or on your anniversary date? If a policy already exists, you should follow the process exactly.
Know that just showing up for work every day does not entitle you to a raise. You will need to justify why you deserve more money. Make a list of your accomplishments, and how they have benefited the company. Give examples as to how you've increased productivity, brought the company more business or improved an existing function. Showing concrete evidence as to how you are valuable to the company will give you a solid case for a raise.
Know what you want
Whether you're looking for a percentage increase or a dollar amount, decide what you want before you ask -- and be prepared to negotiate. Although it can be tempting to ask for a huge wage increase, standard negotiation procedures suggest that you start with a little more than you want, with the idea that during negotiations, you will eventually accept an amount closer to your actual desired wage.
What are employees in your industry, with your skill level, getting paid? Take time to research the market pay rates for your job in the city that you live in. Checking out recruiter and online job websites like Eluta.ca can be a great starting point for determining what you can realistically earn in your field.
It's important to note that salary ranges in big cities like Vancouver or Toronto can be significantly higher than in smaller cities. If you already make above your market pay rate, it could be difficult trying to negotiate for more money.
Request a follow-up meeting
If your request for a raise was declined, ask your employer if there is anything else they could offer you in lieu of a raise -- such as flex time or additional vacation time, the ability to attend conferences, or the option of taking courses and seminars to upgrade your skill set. Not only does this ensure that you receive some sort of additional perk or compensation, but you will also show initiative in becoming a more well-rounded employee.
If your boss needs to delay making a decision or present your case to a committee, make sure to suggest a time frame for meeting again. This will help keep your request in your boss's mind, and they'll know it will eventually need to be addressed again.
Just like interviewing for a job, the art of negotiating and asking for a pay raise gets easier as you build your confidence in selling yourself and your accomplishments. Don't be afraid to ask what you need to do in order to improve as an employee and get the raise you think you deserve -- and take notes so you can use this information in your next negotiation.
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