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Success Story: How to Ask for a Raise and Get It

by Shawanda Greene

If you want to boost your savings, you have several options: increase cash inflows, decrease cash outflows, or both.

Most people gravitate toward cutting expenses. Usually, you can nix wasteful spending right away.

On the other hand, raking in more dough takes time, it takes effort, and for some, it takes GetRaised.com.

GetRaised.com is a free online tool that holds your hand through the process of writing a custom raise request letter.

If you put together a compelling case for why you deserve a raise, you could enjoy a fatter paycheck while paring down your day-to-day expenses.

Unfortunately, a lot of people (especially women) are reluctant to ask for more money. It’s not like you’re asking for more gruel; you’re asking for more green–and that’s scary.

You imagine walking into your boss’s office, explaining how awesome you are, requesting a pay increase, and then getting slapped with a barrage of lame excuses as to why you’re compensated fairly. Even worse, your supervisor convinces you that you’re unremarkable, your appeal for more money is downright offensive, and a bum like you should be grateful you even have a job.

Yeah, if I thought that way, I probably wouldn’t ask for a raise either. And, technically, I never have. To increase my income, I relied on the default salary bumps that often accompanied job promotions.

After Stephanie Halligan, founder of The Empowered Dollar, told me she used GetRaised.com to negotiate a 12% pay increase, I couldn’t help but wonder if my passivity cost me thousands of dollars.

I asked Stephanie if she’d share her story with my readers. Lucky for us, she agreed to answer a few questions regarding her experience with GetRaised.com.

getraised.com

 

1. When did you decide it was time to ask for a raise?

When I received my promotion, I was disappointed in the raise I got and I made the mistake of not negotiating at that point. But I knew my compensation was below market and less than what I was worth to the organization. I decided to ask for a raise when I knew the organization was budgeting for the following year (we’re on a calendar year, so I asked in early October).

2. After your boss received the letter, did she immediately honor your request, or did you meet face-to-face to discuss your compensation?

I decided it was best to set up a face-to-face meeting, where I could make the “pitch,” using the language from the letter. She seemed impressed by my research and supported my request. She sent the letter to the organizational leadership. I was incredibly nervous scheduling this meeting, but I knew I had a powerful letter in my hand that I could use as back-up.

3. The process of asking for a raise involves not only identifying what you’ve done for the organization, but also the value you’ll contribute going forward. How’d you identify short-term and long-term goals that would benefit the company?

This was an interesting exercise – something I never considered before I started GetRaised.com. I started by thinking about how I personally wanted to grow with the company in the short-term and long-term (what kind of skills did I want to gain? what kinds of projects would I like to do?) and then translated that into a benefit for the organization. For example, if you wanted to work on more projects independently, this would benefit the time your supervisor would have to dedicate to managing your work.

4. What did you do to prepare for the in-person meeting? Did you encounter any push back from your supervisor? If so, how’d you address it?

The letter was a big help. I knew if I fumbled, I could just read what I had written. I prepared for the meeting by imagining the worst that could happen (maybe not a smart strategy, but I wanted to be prepared for a big “NO”). I did not receive any push back, and I think that has a lot to do with the solid argument I made for why I was due for a raise.

5. Are there any other tricks, tips, or pointers you’d like to share with my readers?

Make sure you have a case for asking for a raise. “Deserving” a raise or needing more money is not a reason for an employer to increase your salary.

I debated whether or not to ask for a raise in the first place. I work for a nonprofit that was going through some financial challenges. At the same time, I wasn’t sure I was actually being underpaid.

Not only did I do a lot of salary research with similar positions in my field, but I did some investigation at my organization to make sure that the timing in the fiscal year was appropriate, that there were enough projects in our team’s pipeline, and that we were getting on-track financially and they could afford to compensate me more.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie @ Empowered Dollar July 25, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Thanks for featuring my story! One of the other things I’d like to mention is to know your negotiation points. If your heart is set on a higher salary, but your company says they can’t give you a raise, are there other benefits that you could negotiate for? I was prepared to ask for more vacation days or funds for professional development, in case my ask for a raise fell through.
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Shawanda Greene July 26, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Thank you!

Asking for more vacation days is smart, but asking for company sponsored professional training is genius. Not only does the added knowledge help the company, but it could make you more marketable if you ultimately decide to pursue employment opportunities elsewhere.
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Daisy @ Add Vodka July 25, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Interesting! I’ve never asked for a raise, but I’ve gotten them just because before. Now that I have a real job, I can’t ask for raises because we get annual raises and we’re on a pay grid; we have steps. I work for a government organization. But when I work for a private organization, I’d love to do this!
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Shawanda Greene July 26, 2012 at 2:08 PM

That stinks. Hopefully, your ability to get promoted is based on your qualifications not your years of service.
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Lance @ Money Life and More July 25, 2012 at 7:09 PM

My girlfriend recently got a raise at work that she was disappointed in and despite my prodding for her to try to talk to them to negotiate more she refuses… not much I can do there unfortunately other than hopefully bug her until she does it…
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Shawanda Greene July 26, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Tell her to read this blog post. I think having a strong letter prepared takes a lot of the pressure off. She can also try the more passive approach to getting the raise like the one I talk about in my video, How to Get Promoted: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYykzCnGyTM
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