Bored at work? This summer, AOL Jobs will be publishing a career quiz every week to keep you entertained. This quiz was so popular with readers when it originally ran that AOL is republishing it.
Do you think you deserve a raise but haven't been able to summon the courage to ask for one, or are you unsure as to how you would justify a raise in this economy? If you've proactively approached your work in the ways outlined below, you may have a stronger case than you think.
Document your accomplishments regularly throughout the year.
Keep track of all the projects you manage. Upon completion of each assignment, write a note to yourself detailing your contribution and how your efforts helped the company make money, save money, save time, grow the business, or retain customers. Quantify your accomplishments with dollars, percentages, and other appropriate metrics. Actively seek out opportunities to improve efficiencies and profits regardless of the task at hand. By showing and quantifying your specific value added, you build a better business case to support the requested salary increase.
Become hard to replace.
Create opportunities to diversify your experience by offering to learn how to perform tasks that support your main role and make you more efficient at what you do. An alternative strategy is to become a subject matter expert in one specific aspect of the job so you are seen as the "go-to person" for a particular type of information. No want wants to lose the go-to person because then they have to take ownership of an additional task.
This does not mean taking on grunt work. It might just mean mastering a new technology that no one else feels comfortable with or taking on an assignment that is outside of the traditional scope of the job. Employees who demonstrate this level of flexibility tend to get more flexibility from their bosses on other issues, including compensation.
Inherit the workload of a co-worker let go from the company.
After the dust settles from the most recent round of layoffs, you may be asked to take on additional responsibilities or projects to pick up the slack created by the reorganization. If you have successfully assumed a larger workload, and as a result of it the company has saved in terms of salary expenditures, they may be willing to put some of that saved dough in your pocket.
Accept high-profile assignments close to review time.
Since it is easier for people to remember what has happened most recently, why not take on an important assignment to coincide with an upcoming review? The project is bound to become a focal point of the performance review discussion, and the boss can quickly remember and document the achievements relevant to the project.
Your success negotiating a salary increase hinges on your ability to discuss the increase in terms of what is fair and reasonable. By incorporating some of these ideas into your career management strategy, you can keep the conversation focused on measurable achievements and build a compelling business case for the requested pay raise.
Quiz: Do you deserve a raise?
Answer yes or no to each of these questions. In the past year I have ...
- Exceeded performance goals to help company achieve superior business results.
- Mastered a task no one else knows how to do.
- Taken on a task no one else wants to do.
- Assumed additional responsibilities that weren't part of my original job description.
Yes for 4 out of 4: Go for it!
Yes for 3 out of 4: You have a strong case.
Yes for 2 out of 4: Keep at it; you are on the right track -- revisit in six months.
Yes for 1 out of 4: You probably don't have strong enough case yet -- revisit in 12 months.
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