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Chelsea teaches you how to not only ask for a raise, but also how to actually get one.

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Chelsea: Hi I'm Chelsea from The Financial Diet and today we're going to be talking about getting a raise at work. Not just asking for one, but actually getting it. A lot of you are probably aware that despite it being 2015, women still make roughly 78 cents for every dollar a man makes, which sound almost boring by now because we hear it so often. And often feels like there's nothing we can do to help it, but it's up to each of us individually to really go after and advocate for what we deserve. We have to get used to asking for what we merit and that takes the right strategies and skills. 

Now the first and arguably most important thing is to really know your company's schedule. Now if this is a company where you can decide a time for a raise conversation it's really important to know your company's schedule in terms of finances. You get to know things like quarters, when their sales schedule is, when is generally a lean time versus a time with more money. Basically when the time would be good to ask because sometimes it's just financially difficult for a company to give raises even if your performance has been incredible. Now if you work at a company, and this is often bigger companies that are like this, that have very strict schedules of performance reviews, you really won't be able to decide when is the right time to talk about a raise and you'll have to plan around that schedule. 

Next you really need to understand your boss and their schedule. You need to understand a bit about how they're working, when they're very busy, when they have more free time and you need to also give them a little bit of time to prepare for this. Generally you will want to schedule it a week ahead and that will give them a lot of time to prepare for it and you as well. And it's really important to not approach them at a time when they're under enormous stress for a project or having a hard time at home or exhausted from something that isn't going well. Your boss is a human being and you need to understand that their mood is going to obviously going to have a big impact on how your conversation goes. So if you're approaching them and you sense that it's a really bad time all of a sudden, it's okay to say "Hey, things are really crazy around the office. Is it possible to reschedule this for a later date?"

And to learn more about the mysterious world of bosses I went to the source and spoke to 3 different bosses in 3 different industries to hear about what they thought were some of the most important things to do when asking for a raise and this is what they told me. 1) Have a concrete breakdown of your accomplishments over the year in terms of the numbers and things that can really demonstrate how you exceeded your expectations because just meeting them and doing a good job of what you're supposed to do, that just justifies your salary. In order to get a raise you're gonna need to prove that you went above and beyond and the more concrete your evidence the better.

2) Come with a firm number in mind of what you want as well as what you're willing to compromise at. 3) Use sites like glassdoor.com to look at competitive salaries within your industry to see if what you're looking for is even reasonable. You may be asking for something that a company can't even give you. 4) Never be personal or threatening. Now as much as you don't want to go into a meeting asking for things because of personal reasons, ie "I need this money because of (insert horrible thing that's happening at home here)" You also don't want to be professionally threatening. Saying you're going to leave if you don't get what you want is a good way to sour any boss. And while technically you can say "I was offered this much at a competing company" or even ask your boss to match a salary, you need to be prepared that the boss might very well say "Just go" Multiple bosses that I spoke to told me that they had hard and fast rules that if someone came asking them to compete with a salary they just told them to go to the other company because they didn't want to play for the attention of someone who wasn't a hundred sure of where they where.

5) Keep the tone friendly, professional and neutral. Never get accusatory or weird. Now obviously if the conversation doesn't go the way you wanted it to go chances are that emotions might run high and you want to say something regrettable. Keep it to yourself. If you still feel you need to advocate for yourself after the conversation, do so via email once you've had a chance to collect your thoughts, calm the hell down, and put it into a coherent and non-accusatory way. 6) Keep the conversation as concise as possible. One boss told me that she really loved it when employees would come with a one sheeter, really breaking down their reasons for asking for what they want because it allowed both parties to come up to speed without wasting a lot of unnecessary time in back and forth. Plus it gave it that concrete, hard number breakdown that we talked about before. 

And 7) Never, ever, ever, ever bring up the salary of another employee at your meeting. If someone was kind enough to tell you what their salary is, you can never bring it up because aside from deeply pissing off whoever you're talking to, you also are going to throw them under the bus for doing something really nice and letting you in on what they earn. It can get them in a ton of trouble or possibly even fired if their boss finds out that they've been sharing their salaries. So no matter how tempted you are to be like "This person is earning this much..." Keep you mouth shut! Now one thing that every boss told me that seems to be true everywhere is that if you really feel that you are not being served somewhere and you're not happy with salary or the result of the conversation, you might just need to leave. Now obviously sometimes a company's hands are really tied in terms of how much of a raise they can or can't give or your boss just might not agree with your reasons for wanting one, but the point is if you're really unhappy, you might want to plan an exit strategy instead of sticking around for a whole 'nother year of quite seething anger until your next performance review. 

Now they also noted that really the best time to establish your salary in the track you're on is during hiring and during promotions because this is not only the time that a company can most clearly justify these big hikes in spending, they're also the time that you have the most to concretely negotiate with. Bear in mind that the bosses I spoke with told me that if you're angling for a promotion it is essential that you be able to demonstrate that you can already do the work of the job above you. And this is similar to, you know, when you're asking for a raise, you have to be able to demonstrate that you went above and beyond the duties of your current salary. Now this can be a little difficult, but it's really important to prove to them that you're capable of doing that job. 

Now asking for a raise is a very tricky thing, especially for a young, new professional, but the right skills and strategies will enable you to start the conversation in your favor and end on a note that everyone is happy with. You too can be a master of your salary destiny! And as always, don't forget to hit the subscribe button and go to thefinancialdiet.com for more. Bye!