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There are several important issues you need to tackle when you want to ask for a salary increase. One of them is timing, another is planning, and the last one is preparation. If you manage to do everything right, you will maximize your chances of getting the raise you want.
Why timing is important
Asking for a raise at the right time is extremely important. If you corner your boss to ask for a raise when the company is going through difficulties, or an important client has just decided to work with another company in the same field, chances are that the only answer you will get will be a definite 'no'.
Learn about company practices
If the company you are working for has certain practices in regards to when pay raises are being applied to employees' checks, like once a year, or once every six months, it will be virtually useless to ask for a raise before the established date.
What is your real value?
If the type of job you do is in high demand, and there are plenty of openings just waiting for you to apply, than you are almost obliged to seek the right occasion and ask for a raise. However, it is important to learn what others are paid in the same field, so that your demands are not seen as being over the top.
Explain why you need the raise in professional terms
Do not bring your work problems home, but do not do it the other way around either. When asking for a raise, focus on your responsibilities, on your qualifications and professional reasons for which you consider you deserve a raise. Do not bring personal problems into the equation, as this is most likely to be frowned upon.
Do not sell yourself short
While it is important to avoid making outstanding demands that have no chance of ever being fulfilled, you should not sell yourself short. Since offering you a raise is a long term solution for your employer, you will not be able to ask for another raise shortly after just getting one. Make sure you set your personal standards bar as high as possible, in order to be satisfied with the results on the long run, not just on the spot.
Be prepared to hear 'no'
There are many reasons for which your boss may not be able to offer you the raise you want. Be prepared to hear the answer 'no'. If that is the case, make sure that you keep your perspectives open, by asking your boss if talking about the same issue in several months time is more likely to be followed by a different outcome. This way, you will pave the way towards getting a salary increase, even if you do not get it the moment you are asking for it.
Keep your resume up to date
In case your current job does not offer too great prospects for the future, do not forget to keep your resume up to date. This way, you will be able to grab a better opportunity, when it arises.
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