Are you one of the 54% of professionals who has never asked for a raise?
If so, you could be walking away from hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your lifetime.
When was the last time you checked to see if your pay is in line with what the market value is?
If you haven’t recently, I highly, highly recommend hopping onto salary.com to learn how much professionals with your background, experience level, and education earn in your location.
I recently did this exercise with a client and we saw that he was being underpaid by $26,000/year!
Salary.com will give you percentiles, so if you believe that your work performance, on average, exceeds expectations, look at the number that corresponds with the higher percentile.
Online tools like salary.com get a bit tricky to use if you’re a higher-level professional. They aren’t 100% reliable after you cross the senior management tier or the ~$200,000/year mark.
This is because if you’re a senior manager, director, or executive-level professional, your package depends heavily on your company and how it is structured, as well as performance incentives and stock options.
How much control do you have over revenue-generation processes? That should tell you how much wiggle room you have with pay negotiation.
Do Your Research
To learn more about how much you should be making as a senior-level professional, you should:
- Talk to others in your industry. According to the National Labor Relations Act, you can’t be forbidden from speaking to your fellow colleagues about pay.
- Seek out a recruiter you trust that specializes in your industry. They should be able to advise you on how much you should be earning after speaking to you briefly about your capabilities.
- Familiarize yourself with your company’s financial statements. Make it a practice to look at their P&L, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. If your specific department publishes this information, even better. You’ll understand exactly how you’re benefiting your company and be able to negotiate as such.
Come up With a Number
After doing your research, whether online or via networking, think about your own contributions. What problems have you solved for your company? What big breakthroughs have you helped lead?
Use these achievements to either aim for the higher or middle segment of your reseach. I like coming up with two numbers — a goal and a minimum acceptable offer.
You probably also want to add intangibles like paid time off and a flexible schedule, as well as tangibles like stock options and healthcare benefits.
Approach Your Decision-Maker
Now that you know what you should be making, you should approach your decision-maker to ask for a raise.
I like to write an email asking for a performance review and then coming to that review with a brag sheet and, if possible, a portfolio outlining your wins over the last year. Your portfolio can also include personal wins, such as certifications or coursework you’ve completed.
Well before the meeting, prepare a script to go for the big ask. Focus on your recent wins as well as what you plan on bringing to the company in the following year. Make your plan of action as tangible as possible so that your decision-maker can relate your homework to their business problems.
Here’s a sample script that you can copy and tailor to your situation to use during your meeting:
I did some research and someone with my experience in this area normally makes $102,500/year. I believe that with my strengths, I do deserve at least that.
If you take a look at this sheet of paper that I prepared for you, I have five strengths, which I have used to bring significant wins to CareerTuners:
- Cost reduction
- Introducing new products
- Ensuring the retention and efficiency of subordinates
- Continuous improvement
- Project strategy with a strong focus on capital (profit/cost) management
Under each heading in this document, I have listed my wins as they relate to each.
I am confident that in my next year, these strengths will not go underutilized and that I can continue securing savings of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands as I support the leadership team of my division with creating new training mechanisms, identifying supplementary revenue streams, and taking on the management of new hires.
Therefore, a salary of $102,000/year is what I am expecting for this position.
Request a Revisit
There might be a chance that your boss might say no or question your abilities. If that happens, you can request your boss respectfully to revisit their decision and ask them candidly what it will take to get a raise. Furthermore, you can set a date for your next performance review to revisit the discussion. Alternatively, you discuss other perks such as relocation, a better commission structure, bonuses, PTO, and whatever else is most important to you.
Schedule a One-on-One Brainstorming Session
If you’d like to get one-on-one brainstorming help with your raise plan, schedule a one-on-one brainstorming session with me here.
I recently helped a client negotiate a 19% higher salary and he walked away with an offer that was $51,000/year bigger than his original offer!
I was able to help him highlight his achievements to his managers in a way that showcased what value he can bring to the company in the coming years.
In this session, we’ll create a plan of action just for you. You will learn:
- The specific techniques that will work for your unique personality.
- What will work for your unique corporate structure after we discuss your bosses and reporting hierarchy.
- How to anticipate your bosses’ and HR’s moves before they make them. This will help you go into the negotiation process fully prepared and with a cool head.
- How to evaluate your own performance to determine the amount of raise.
- Where to do your research on market value and salary trends.
- How to document the value you have added to the company and prepare a script.
- I’ll walk you, step-by-step, on how to ask for a raise, including setting up the meeting.
- What to do if the decision-maker says no.
- How to request the decision-maker to revisit their decision.
We’ll also work together on your “ask” script.
So work with me on Friday, talk to your manager on Monday, and get yourself that raise by Wednesday!