Salary and Promotions

Plan for Your Raise by Proving Your Value: Part 2 of 4

Running_man Most people go into a performance review thinking about the raise they’ll get. But, if you’re a top performer, you might not have to wait until your next scheduled review. When it comes to asking for a raise, it’s vital to strike while the iron’s hot and your performance is top-of-mind.

When is the moment right? Have you recently closed a big sale, finished a big project, or received accolades from co-workers and the bosses? When you’re being praised for your actions, that’s the perfect time to discuss the value you bring to the company. State your case in a one-page memo that highlights why you should be rewarded.

How valuable are you? Companies reward top performers who can demonstrate their return on investment. How did you contribute to the company’s bottom line last year? What are your plans for this year? When you look at your value in terms of what you’re saving the company or making the company, you can make a strong case for a raise. For instance, if you saved $80,000 by reducing printing waste, a raise might seem in order.

Leave with an answer and a plan. Don’t expect an immediate yes or no. More than likely, your supervisor will want to get back with you. But, don’t fall for the brush off line, “I’ll have to get back to you.” Don’t leave until you have a follow up plan in place. Schedule the next meeting immediately.

How have you demonstrated your value? Have you been successful? Are you still waiting for your supervisor to get back with you? In part three of this series, you’ll learn how to overcome objections.

Asking for a Raise in a Recession: Part 1 of 4

Up_and_down The current economic landscape means that things aren’t pretty when it comes to the workforce these days. Budgets are being slashed, layoffs are increasing, and hiring and salary freezes are now commonplace.

You might think in this economy that it’s the worst time to ask for a raise.

But then again, it might be just the right time to ask for one – if you can justify it to your boss. To improve your chances of success, it’s important to assess your past, present, and future value to the company before asking for more money in these budget-conscious times. This four-part series on raises will help you traverse the obstacles that stand in your way.

Start by thinking about these two questions. And if you’re a supervisor – these questions can help you evaluate a request for a raise.

What have you done for me lately? Performance reviews can be a challenging task for managers because not only are you evaluating performance, you’re also determining if they’re deserving of a pay raise. If it’s time for your review, approach it seriously and remember that there’s a difference between performing your job duties and going above and beyond. Provide specific examples of how you exceeded expectations. Be sure to document, in writing, your benefits to the company, especially if your actions saved or made the company money.

How much are you worth? Everyone wants to get paid what they’re worth, so it’s important to research comparative salaries. Resources such as, and can provide guidelines to help you identify a range for your position based on your job responsibilities and geography. The more knowledgeable you are about your position, the more comfortable you’ll be making your case.

In part two of this series, you’ll learn about timing your request.

Negotiating Salary in a Recession

You may think that in a recession your salary negotiating power is gone. In fact, for many people, things are so bad they would rather take a pay cut than suffer a job loss. The truth is, a recent poll showed that many Fortune 500 companies are looking at freezing merit based raises for the coming year. For many people, salaries may freeze or decline throughout 2009.

That said, highly skilled, experienced, or recruited candidates may find that now, they are worth more than ever to employers. So, if you have experience in a field that’s in high demand or have recruiters knocking on your door, don’t worry. Your salary level is probably fine. But if you’re searching for a job or are in an industry that’s feeling the economic slump, now is a great time to brush up on your salary negotiation skills. Selling your skills and experience in an economic climate like this will be challenging. So, here are three ideas for negotiating a salary in a recession:

Make it about their money.

If you’re a proven candidate who’s been successful at saving money for employers in the past, whether by cutting budgets, using innovative ideas, or changing processes, make sure to sell the value you add to a potential employer to save them cold, hard cash right now. Many people can prove they’ve spent a company’s money. But proven power in saving money in a business setting is a rare talent. So, make sure you sell your ability to save the company money by sharing actual dollar amounts you’ve saved. If you’ve saved a company in the thousands or millions, you can make your salary about saving the employer’s money, and chances are, you’ll get paid what you’re worth.

Make it about your performance.

Here’s something to consider when you’re talking money with a potential employer once a job offer’s been extended. Tell them you’re willing to base your raise or bonus on your performance. Set the stakes yourself. If you can accomplish their goals for the position before their allotted time frame, or if you can raise productivity levels in measurable ways above the last person who had the position, it would be worth it for them to pay you more. So, let your boss or potential employer know that you want a better salary but are willing to work for it. Then, give them a deadline to make the change by. Here’s an example: if you meet their goals within the first three months, they agree to give you an immediate 5% raise, no questions asked. And if you exceed them in measurable ways, they will give you another review to consider an even higher raise.

Make it about your time.

Time is money. So, if an employer says they can’t afford to pay you what you’re worth right now because of the economy, suggest that you would work for what they can afford to pay you but at a reduced schedule. For example, if you can prove you deserve to make 20% more than they’re willing to pay but they still can’t pay it, see if they’ll work out a compromise until the economy picks back up and they can afford to pay you more. Suggest that you would be willing to work 20% less time than the job description requires but at the salary they can afford for a full-time person now. If you are a valuable enough candidate or employee, this may just be the solution to meet both of your needs.

When you’re negotiating salary, make sure that you approach the subject with professionalism and tact. Go into a salary negotiation discussion prepared with the facts about what you’re worth, but don’t alienate a potential employer by being insensitive to their business needs, especially in an economy like this. By positioning yourself as your potential employer’s ally when it comes to talking about salary in a difficult economic situation, you’ll be more likely to get paid what you’re worth and help your employer weather the storm.

Have you successfully negotiated a new salary, even in the recession? Share your tips and insights in the comments!

Money Matters, or Does It? Finding Satisfaction in Your Job

According to a survey conducted in 2008 by, 46% of workers said they were unsatisfied at work. One of our blog polls found that 37% of our readers thought more money would keep them at their current job. So this begs the question, “Will money truly make you happier at work?” Chances are, it won’t. Research shows that once you earn enough money to cover your basic needs, earning more money doesn’t make you much happier. So, what’s standing in your way of being happy at work? Is one of these three factors weighing you down?

Lack of Interesting Work. If you find yourself doing mundane tasks over and over again, or don’t feel excitement in your job anymore, talk to your supervisor. Ask if you can take on a few new tasks or responsibilities, or trade projects with a co-worker. You’ll be able to learn a new skill and become more valuable to your department by taking on a new challenge.

No Room for Advancement. Not every company creates a career path or roadmap for employees to move up within the company, so if there’s not one, create your own. Start by picking up new skills and increasing your knowledge to broaden your opportunities. This can help you make an upward move into another area of the company that you weren’t qualified for previously. If there’s still no opportunity to move up, consider looking somewhere else.

Feeling Undervalued. If your work often goes unrecognized or you’re not sure how your work affects the company, you might feel undervalued. In this case, talk with your supervisor and let him know your concerns. Ask him to explain how your work ties into the department or company goals. It could be that he has a hard time expressing appreciation or doesn’t know how you feel.

Money isn’t the only key to happiness, and earning more of it isn’t always in your control. But, there are a few key things that can increase your satisfaction at work, regardless of the size of your paycheck. Once you figure out what’s really making you unhappy, you can fix the problem. You deserve to be happy at work, so why not change what you can today?

What Would You Do for a 4-Day Work Week?

With high gas prices, employees are struggling to meet the increasing cost of simply getting to and from work. And businesses are paying attention. There are stories of some employers getting creative, using incentives to help employees pay for gas. It’s all over the news how employers in some fields are meeting worker demands by offering a 4-day work week. The idea is to fit a 40-hour week into four 10-hour days so employees have one less day a week to travel to work.

But when it comes to business, a 4-day work week isn’t quite as simple as that. In fact, most places that have gone to a 4-day work week are government or non-profit entities. Some businesses face complications like losing profits and customer service by operating just 4 days a week.

The truth is, every benefit they add costs employers cash they have to make up for somewhere else. When you think about it in those terms, how important is saving money on gas to you in the big picture? Just how valuable is that extra day off each week?

5 Secrets to Getting Promoted

Earn a PromotionGetting ahead in your career doesn’t happen by accident. If you want to get promoted you need to dedicate yourself to becoming the best employee you can be. The following five tips can help you grow professionally and land a promotion.

1. Increase your skill level. If you’ve been passed over for a promotion in the past, it could be because you’re lacking essential skills needed to advance in your industry. To remedy this, evaluate your capabilities in comparison with those who have recently been promoted. If you determine that your skills fall short in a particular area, take action. This could mean finishing a degree, getting a particular certification or working with a mentor to grow as a professional.

2. Become indispensable. When management is choosing between candidates for a promotion, they’ll review each applicant’s track record. To make sure you stand out above the competition, focus on becoming your boss’s go-to person by volunteering for tough projects and always showing eagerness to offer a helping hand. When a project demands extra time, stay late or work through your breaks will. This will show your boss that you’re dedicated to fulfilling your commitments.

3. Be in the know. Having relationships with the right people is essential to advancing your career. To get ahead, focus on developing a solid group of supporters through networking, both inside and outside of your organization. You can build your network of contacts by becoming a member of professional organizations in your field and volunteering for cross-departmental projects and committees within your company. Remember, moving up is often more about who you know rather than what you know.

4. Excel in your current role. You can show your boss that you’re worthy of greater responsibility by producing higher quality work in your current position. To do this, you’ll need to always complete projects on time, show expertise concerning all aspects of your current position and get along well with your teammates. If you consistently exceed expectations in your present role, you’ll be on the top of the list when management selects a candidate for the next big opportunity.

5. Change jobs. Leaving your current job is generally a last resort to advancing professionally. After all, if you like your job, it makes sense to stick around as long as you can. But, if your employer can’t provide adequate opportunities for professional growth and advancement, it may be time to look for a new job. But remember to always conduct yourself professionally, even as you search for greener pastures. You never know who at your current organization might be able to help your career sometime in the future.

Have you recently been promoted? What do you think caused your supervisors to select you for advancement? Let us know in the comments section below.

3 Tips for Negotiating Salary During the Job Interview

negotiate salary in an interviewCongratulations, you’ve landed an interview! Maybe you’re even on your second or third meeting with a particular employer. As things move along in the process, you’re getting closer to the time of salary negotiation. To ensure that you’re prepared when the time comes to talk about money, check out the following tips.

Let Them Bring It Up.
You don’t want to be the one to broach the subject of compensation. If the employer is interested in you, you can be sure that the topic will eventually come up, so wait for that time to discuss it. That means you shouldn’t list your salary requirements on your résumé unless you’re required to do so.

Stating how much money you want too soon can box you into a figure that is lower than what you might’ve received otherwise, or it can eliminate you from consideration because the amount is too high.

Also, bringing up salary too early in the process is presumptuous and can make it appear that you’re only interested in money.

Do Your Research.
Before the interview, it’s your job to find out what the going rate is for the position you’re being considered for. This figure will vary depending on your location, skills, experience and education.

To get an idea of what the salary for the job will be, do online research on sites like, or If you happen to have friends who work at the company you’re interviewing with or know people who work in the same industry, you can get a good idea about what type of salary you can expect.

Researching compensation before the interview is an essential step to receiving a competitive salary. After all, if you don’t know what’s a fair price, how will you know if the interviewer’s offer is one you want to accept?

Don’t Be Too Quick to Accept the First Offer.
Before you shout “yes” to the first number out of the employer’s mouth, take a moment to think things through. Even if you’re satisfied with the offer, it’s best to not be hasty.
Consider asking for a day or two to review the offer before committing. During this time, evaluate the offer and ensure that it’s in line with the position responsibilities and your background.

If the offer seems too low based on your research, try making a counter offer. But be sure you have solid reasons for asking for increased compensation or other perks. Employers won’t be inclined to dish out more money just because you say you “need” it. That’s why you’ll have to be able to explain why your skills and the position responsibilities deserve a higher salary. Chances are, even if the employer is unable to sweeten the deal, they’ll respect you for thinking things through and knowing what you’re worth.

Before going in for an interview, it’s important to know what a reasonable pay range is for the position you’re applying for and to be able to sell your skills to the employer. By preparing for salary negotiations, you’ll increase your chances of receiving the competitive salary you deserve.