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The Scary Money Question

How to ask the scary money question! The anxiety provoking question you’d rather skip and just get the raise. Do I really have to ask for it or can you just give it to me and spare me the awkwardness of the situation?

Not long ago my niece texted me and asked me, “Aunt Sandy, can you give me advice on how to ask my boss for a raise?” Part of me was super excited, not about the question as much as I was about the fact that my niece who lives in another state was contacting me to ask for my advice. Even as a career coach, I don’t often get asked the scary money question, “How do I ask for a raise?” About a month after that, I was driving in the car with my daughter and she asked me the exact same question. I had to laugh and I told her that Lili had just asked me the same thing.

When I coach my clients, I might start with some typical questions, but I always tailor them to their specific situation and needs. For instance, my niece has been working at her position for a couple of years without a raise. My daughter, on the other hand, started working at her company only earlier this year. In addition, their training and experience for the positions they have are different.

Here are some of the factors I asked my niece to consider:

  1. Make a list of your goals and accomplishments and additional responsibilities you have taken on since you started working there that are not on your job description.

  2. Research similar job salaries others are earning in your area to get an idea for how much of an increase to ask for.

  3. Tell your boss you are asking for a raise because of your accomplishments and the contributions you have made and the additional responsibilities you have taken on.

  4. Focus your request on your contributions toward the organization. Don’t make the request about your personal needs.

In short:

  1. What are others in your field making?

  2. What do you bring to the table, including education, experience, foreign language, and soft skills?

  3. Make a list of your supporting evidence that merits your raise increase.

  4. Figure out the best time to ask for the raise, like after a big project or when you have taken on new responsibilities.

  5. Schedule a meeting with your boss to talk about the contributions you've made toward the organization.

  6. Stay positive! You’ve put in the work. Ask for the raise.

When I was looking for my next career opportunity, I relied on sites like Glassdoor for salary searches. O*NET OnLine is another great site I recommend to my clients that is a hidden treasure filled with career information ready for you to explore. It not only gives you salary information, but it is a great jumping point for researching career possibilities and the educational experience required for the field you are considering. It also lets you know the occupational outlook.

I remember Lili telling me that she was going to look for another job, if she did not get a raise. That is definitely something to consider. I’ve had the same experiences in my journey, whether it was asking for a raise or making a career move. Be prepared if things don’t go your way. It’s okay to ask why you did not get a raise or when you can expect one.

I am happy to report, just a few weeks after her request for a raise, Lili got her raise! So, be confident and, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart!” Psalm 37:4

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