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This article originally comes from Entrepreneur.
Everything Women Need to Know About Asking for a Raise
It’s probably one of the most nerve-racking conversations you’ve ever had — and unfortunately, you’ll need to repeat it many times over the course of your career. Ah yes, friends, we’re talking about “the Ask.”
Before the Ask: How to prepare
Two words: preparation and timing. Before you even begin to craft your pitch for the raise you so deserve, you need to have the knowledge to back up your claims and consider the mood and environment you’re walking into.
- Pull all the positive praise you’ve received since your last review. It helps if you set up a folder on your computer or in your email account to store all those notes from clients, your boss and your colleagues in which you were commended for a great job.
- Go for hard numbers. How has your company or department directly benefited from your work? Did your team play a role in increasing sales by [x]% last year? Did you bring in [x] new clients? Is the team you oversee bigger than it was last year?
- Consider what you’ll bring to the team in the coming year (and beyond). You’re asking for this raise because you’ve demonstrated that you’ll go above and beyond, but your boss also wants to hear that you’re in it for the long haul. How do you plan to continue growing within the company if you do get this raise?
- Think about why your boss wants to give you more money. What’s in it for her or him? Would giving you the raise ensure that they have a stable person in a leadership role? Would your raise prevent the possibility of you leaving and thus the turnover time and drawn out application process they dread? These are things you should have in the back of your mind when formulating your Ask, even if you don’t bring them up (actually really though, don’t threaten that if you leave, they’ll be screwed).
- Come up with a real number. They’re going to ask. You need to have an answer. That number should be based on real research (Glassdoor has a salary calculator) and industry standards. And don’t forget that you’ll wind up losing 15 percent or more of that number in the negotiation phase.
- Focus on the personal. You may feel burnt out and underpaid, but you’re going to need to let this go to have a useful conversation. Money is money, there’s nothing emotional about it. So set those thoughts aside and go back to focusing on raw data.
- Ask at a terrible time. Do some research on how your company works. Do departments get funding at certain points of the year? Do they have official or even unspoken hiring freezes? Did your boss just lose a huge client or have an unsuccessful presentation? Did your co-worker who’s been there longer just ask for a raise, too? Carefully consider your timing. Even if it means waiting a month or two, you’ll be glad you did.
- Fudge numbers or take undue credit. Most projects are done on a team, and your boss knows too well what kind of work you’ve been doing. Don’t say “I’ve been working 70 hour weeks” when we all know you haven’t been or that “You were responsible for increasing sales by 23 percent last year,” when you worked with an entire team. Give credit where credit is due.
- At the same time, don’t sell yourself short. People and women, in particular, tend to couch their requests in what Diana Faison, a partner with leadership development firm Flynn Heath Holt Leadership calls “power robbers” like “I feel like” and “I believe.” Practice talking about what you want without qualifiers.
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