There may be nothing harder than walking into the boss’ office to ask for a raise. But budget cuts are a way of life and in many companies if you don’t ask for a raise – you don’t get one. It’s not impossible with a little prep work and a shot of confidence. 

I sat down with empowerment speaker Kelly McNelis, founder of Women For One and author of Your Messy Brilliance, for a few simple tips to get what you want. 

Why is it so hard for so many of us to ask for a raise? 

We aren’t taught to talk about money, especially women, but we need to acknowledge what we are bringing to the table and ask for what we are worth. Having this hard conversation starts with yourself. When you get clear in your own mind about what you want and why you want it, you’ll be better positioned to talk about money and negotiate with your boss without wavering.  

How can we get comfortable talking about money? 

Talking about money is taboo in our society, so you have to be your own best advocate. Start with people you trust like close friends and family and ask them how they did it. Also, research salaries in your industry and in your area so you understand the range (salary.com and payscale.com are good resources). If it feels appropriate, ask colleagues how much they make. 

Do we need to have a big win before we ask for a raise? 

It’s great to have a big accomplishment, but not always necessary. Make a list of your achievements over the past year and take credit for ideas you contributed to your team. You need to be willing to share your accomplishments in a logical way, so think about how your work helped the company’s bottom line. 

What if a person doesn’t feel comfortable boasting?  

Don’t wait until you want to ask for a raise to start taking credit for your work, because if you don’t – someone else will. Celebrate little accomplishments as they come up so the boss hears about all your hard work throughout the year.  

You can also explain how your accomplishments benefit the whole team by connecting your successes to the company’s overall goals. Communicate how you have helped uplift your company’s vision, as well as the people around you.  

Hard conversations with the boss can be intimidating! What’s the secret? 

Asking for a raise might be one of the most intimidating things imaginable, but instead of being afraid, consider this a win-win for everyone. Knowing that you worked hard to earn that raise will help you find confidence. Knowing that your boss appreciates you will inspire you to do even more for the company! 

Should we throw out a number? 

Have a specific number in mind and be unapologetic about naming it when you ask for your raise. The value of matter-of-fact transparency is that it makes you a better and more assertive communicator who doesn’t leave money on the table!  

What if I think my boss doesn’t like me? 

Assume that your boss wants to support you – and be willing to give them ideas on how they can do so. Just asking for the raise will make your boss look at you differently and re-energize the enthusiasm that you have for your job. If your boss says no, at least you have built up the confidence and have a list of great accomplishments for your résumé. 

When you are confident people take notice and they respond with new offers and exciting opportunities because they believe you can handle anything. Simple preparation and deep breaths can help you succeed in getting a raise. So, take Kelly’s advice and take control of your career path. 

 

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