Career Advice, Salaries

Setting Yourself Up For A Pay Raise

Anyone hoping for a raise by early 2011 needs to start building a case for it now.

You need to dig up facts on salary skinny and grasp for compensation reality on Glassdoor and elsewhere. But you also need to work within yourself and your department to plant and water seeds especially if you’ve already taken on more assignments. Jack Chapman, a Chicago area career coach and author of “Negotiating Your Salary / How to Make $1,000 A Minute” spends about half his time coaching individuals on salary discussions.  “The game’s called getting a raise – and sometimes it’s called ‘making your boss a star,’ ” he said. Here’s how Chapman suggests you play it:

Be clear on what you want. “Have a clear intention” on how much more money you want, said Chapman. Be open to one-time performance bonuses and extra vacation time, which are easier to win in this environment.

Setting a clear intention will help you to start “acting, looking and thinking” like you’re worth $10,000 more a year to the organization.

Sometimes you may share this goal with your boss in a conversation well before your annual performance review or raise time, Chapman said. He suggests it could go something like this: “I’m paid $40,000. Over the next 10 weeks or so I’d like to increase my value and worth to the company to be worth $50,000. Could I have your support on this? I’d like your encouragement, support and suggestions.”

Do your job the way your boss wants it done. This means no whining and gossip. Spend more time on extra projects and pitch in as needed. Or it may mean stepping in and taking over some presentations your boss must make to new clients. It definitely means listening and understanding your boss’ mindset, expectations and goals.

Reset your priorities. This exercise will help align them with your boss’ goals. List the 10 or 15 key tasks you do. Then go to your supervisor and ask for a 20-minute discussion to make sure your priorities are in alignment. Show him your task list and ask him to grade them A to F on how important they are and then A to F on how you’re doing on those things. “It can help you get on track and do what’s important to the boss,” said Chapman.

Monetize your contributions. Track ways you helped lure in new clients, grow existing ones or save the organization money. Customer service staff can show how happy customers spent more or stayed around longer. Even if you’re a few degrees removed from the sales or money making functions, think through your contributions to them. Or show how you saved $30,000 by renegotiating a supply contract.

Then before your performance review, prepare a one-page memo that documents your successes, the “could have been worse” moves, and comparisons to your competitors and the extras you completed. Include the priorities your boss indicated and your goals for the year ahead. You want to answer the question: “How do I create that more value around here?” said Chapman.