by Linsey Knerl on 31 August 2010
Everyone knows we're in a recession, but let's face it: You may deserve to get paid much more than what you're getting now! Before you blow off the idea that your work is worth a bump in the pay scale, check out these four clever tips for putting in a good word about your worth. (See also: Underpaid? Here's How to Fix It.)
This is an area where having an effective networking style can really pay off. Asking your current customers, co-workers, and colleagues for a few kind words about your performance isn't just useful during a hunt for new work. It can be a powerful tool in moving up your current career ladder, as well. You don't have to be transparent in your reason for asking; a simple "Would you mind sending an email with your thoughts on our working relationship?" will do. Save the best in a file to arm yourself with at your next performance review or compensation discussion.
Some companies are large enough to set their own industry rates — and get them. Others are completely oblivious to what someone in your position should be making. If you've caught wind that your job tasks are on par for the course of a higher-ranking (and higher-paying) position, bring this up to your boss. Explain that you realize that they may not have the cash to pay the going rate for someone with your expertise, but would they meet you halfway?
Often, it's not about what they hire you to do that matters. If you are especially well-connected, possess a task or skill that puts you at a unique advantage, or have a willingness to perform beyond your peers (24/7 availability, maybe?), it's something that you should be paid well for. Demand that you get compensated for this value by letting management know how much they are getting!
Show Them the Money
For many companies, it's really just about dollars and cents. Did you save the company $X over last year? Would a process you helped to develop bring in extra money over time? What's the bottom line of your individual worth to the company? If it's well over what they are paying you, now's the time to document and sell your potential return on investment (ROI) with examples of how you can continue to grow in value.
Once you've gotten the OK to discuss a pay raise with your boss (in the form of a performance review or other scheduled meeting), come prepared with facts for each of the four methods above, and be sure that there are no outside distractions that could derail your attempts. Be confident, make positive forward-thinking statements, and never apologize for your request for more cash. Remember, you're worth it — now it's time that your boss knew, too!