How to Ask For (and Likely Get) a Raise!

6/9/2014

I’ve been in the workforce a long time now, and for most of those years I’ve enjoyed the thrills and excitement of IT.  Every day is a little like Christmas, with new toys and projects it just never gets dull.  But once in a while there is a disparity between all of the fun and the pay you receive.  Maybe you didn’t strike it rich with the awesome new mobile app that you spent nights and weekends developing for the last six months.  So you need to close the cash flow gap and getting more green out of the boss is your primary option.

I’ve read many articles about how to get a raise and some are quite good while others are lacking.  Let me give you my personal formula that has worked several times.

Wait.  Maybe I shouldn’t do this.  My manager reads this blog and if she sees my secrets they may not be effective anymore.  Margaret, I’d appreciate it if you stopped reading now.  If you must continue please only read for editorial and or entertainment purposes.  You’re my favorite boss EVER!

Technique number 1:

Use flattery!  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Ok, now it’s time to do the real list.

1)      Make sure a raise is even possible:  Several years ago I was working for an organization and used the rest of the techniques that you are about to read.  I failed completely to get a raise!  Why?  The organization was a public entity on a fixed budget and frankly no one was getting much of a raise.  If you find yourself in this situation you have two options, just be glad you have a job and live with it or be prepared to walk away.

2)      Prove your worth: Your work has to be worth the raise you are requesting.  If you’ve spent the last 12 months just doing the bare minimum to keep your job then don’t ask for a raise, doing so may cause you to be given a pink slip instead.  Getting a raise starts with putting forth extra effort above and beyond the previous year.  Also if there are others in your department or company with your same job you HAVE to differentiate yourself.  Take on an extra project that will stretch you.  Become the person who is willing to help anyone else with their projects.

3)      Improve your skills: Read this carefully, you have to earn the raise BEFORE you get it.  If your skill set matches your current responsibility then why would anyone pay more for the same skill set next year?  Taking on extra projects (mentioned in number 2) will help here, but even more can be done.  Take a class (LRS Education Services offers MANY classes to help you grow in IT) that will get you up to speed on the latest technology.

4)      Care about the bottom line of the company: If you work for a for profit organization then the bottom line is critical.  Take a look at how what you do affects the bottom line.  Can you find ways to affect it more directly?  Maybe taking on some speaking engagements or writing projects (like a blog post :-)) to get the company name more recognition.  Perhaps improving automation by implementing a private (or public) cloud solution.  Don’t know much about the private cloud?  Check out MS10750 and MS10751.

5)      Become the idea person: Stay up to date on the latest trends in IT.  When your boss is looking for advice make sure YOU are the first one she (or he) calls.  Be the expert on everything possible…but be humble about it.  No one likes an arrogant jerk.  Trust me I know, I used to be one.  J

6)      Be a people person:  In IT only about 40% (often less) of your interaction is with actual technology, the rest is with people.  By developing your people skills you will be more likable and more valued.  Read personal growth books and apply them to all of your relationships.  Take a personal/technical growth class (we offer Excellence in Technical Customer Service to help in this area).

7)      Be prepared: When you go to ask for a raise have detailed information about all of the ‘above and beyond’ effort you have put forth.  Show how you have added value to the company.  Make your case in a kind and gentle fashion, but with the confidence that you know you deserve this raise.

One final thought.  Whether or not you receive a raise is not determined by a one hour evaluation with your manager.  It is determined by what you have done over the past year and what your manager believes you will do better the next year.  Make your case with your work and not just your words.

Go for it!

-Troy