How To Get A Raise In 60 Days

Take control to earn more money -- and respect

Shutterstock
I got this recently from a reader:

Dear J.T.,

I need a raise - FAST! I just found out my co-worker is making 20 percent more than me. What's frustrating is she started six months after me. Everyday since I found out, I go into work a bit more angry. I like my job and don't want to leave. But, how can I stay knowing I'm being taken advantage of? My only solution is to get a raise. What can I do?

Angry Adam

Okay, while I'm glad Adam wants to stay and focus on getting a raise, I have to address this comment, "...how can I stay knowing I'm being taken advantage of?" Adam isn't being taken advantage of. Adam is an at-will employee. He's not locked into a contract. He can quit anytime he wants. Especially if he feels the working relationship isn't fair. Furthermore, Adam admits he likes his job, so the real issue is he's been caught off-guard by the fact his company isn't paying everyone the same rate. Yet, this is normal business practice - and, as you'll see, can work to Adam's advantage...

Supply & Demand = Secret Weapon to Getting a Raise

Companies pay for talent based on what they need. Just because you have a PhD, doesn't mean a company will pay you $200,000/year to be a salesperson at their fast-food counter. Why? There are plenty of people out there without PhDs who will do the job for less. The Law of Supply & Demand applies here. The more people capable and available to do the job (high supply), the less of a need there is for all of them (low demand), resulting in the employer being able to pay lower wages and still get the employees they need. That can be frustrating to a professional who feels the employer dictates the pay. But, there's a flip-side to this: if you can create your own niche (low supply), and be of extreme value to an employer (high demand), you can ask for more money - and get it!

Step 1: Identify the "Money-Making" Tasks

When you work in a job where there are multiple people doing the same thing, there's a standard level of productivity expected. Start with your job description and performance reviews. Map out the baseline level of performance everyone is expected to deliver. Then, ask yourself, "What else could I be doing above and beyond to save, or make the company money?" The only way you'll convince the employer to pay you more is to justify how your contributions will increase profitability as a way to cover the cost.

TIP: Be sure to take a closer look at the contributions of the person making more money than you. Try to determine what she's doing outside the scope of the normal job expectations to earn more. Perhaps your boss has even complimented her for actions she's taken? A clue would be why she joined the team. Your boss may have specifically explained why she was hired and what expertise she brings to the organization. This can give you insight into what the company values more in talent. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a positive attitude. There are many factors that go into being a top-ranked, higher-paid employee. Consider all the things that could be giving your co-worker the financial advantage.

Step 2: Set a Meeting With Your Boss

You need to sit down with your boss and share the fact you want to be of more value to the company as a way to earn more money. Don't mention you know your co-worker is making more than you. Bringing it up now will look petty. This is about your working relationship with your employer. Keep in mind: you're a business-of-one that wants your customer (a/k/a employer) to pay you more.

How do you feel when a service provider (i.e. cable, phone, etc.), suddenly announces a rate increase? It's frustrating, isn't it? That's why they also do their best to explain the reason for the increase and all the additional value it will bring you. The same applies to your employer. You want to focus on what you can do to help your boss make or save money so a raise can be justified. Then, tell your boss you'd like to leave the meeting with a clear sense of what additional tasks you could take on to earn a raise within the next two months.

TIP: In this meeting, start by asking your boss what problems are most pressing on the business right now. What pain needs to be alleviated and how can you help him with them? Let your boss share the challenges that keep him up at night. Then, offer up your own suggestions of things you could do using the research you did earlier. Hopefully, you and your boss can agree upon some additional tasks you can do that will have a real impact on the bottom-line. Also, don't underestimate the value of tasks that will make your manager's life easier. Anytime you can relieve stress or workload for a boss, you add significant value!

Step 3: Regularly Update Your Boss on Your Progress

While you don't need to touch base everyday, it is smart to update your boss weekly on the progress you are making with respect to the new tasks you are handling. Especially when you can point to some tangible results. For example, if you can showcase how you saved or made money, be sure to include it in the update. You could do this in a casual one-on-one meeting at the end of the week. Or, you could simply send an email summarizing your results. Either way, be sure to consistently show your boss you are focused and committed to executing these additional tasks and adding the value you promised in exchange for more money.

Step 4: The 30-Day Review

After one month, set another formal meeting with your boss to get his feedback on your performance. You want to make sure he feels you are on-track for that raise. Simply say, "How am I doing? Do you feel I'm making a measurable difference?" The point of this meeting is to ensure your boss is still on-board with the raise. You don't want to get to the end of the 60-day period and be told that your performance wasn't meeting his expectations for a raise. This is your chance to make any changes necessary to ensure the raise comes through.

Step 5: Continue Adding Value and Keeping Your Boss Informed

Repeat the same strategy you had in month one. Your boss will be watching to see if you really are committed to adding more value, or if this was just a temporary ploy to get a pay increase. You need show consistency and determination so your boss knows your efforts are legit. Also, you should start to gather some real momentum in your results, providing cost-saving or money-making activities that are adding up to real value. Remember, financial results are necessary for you to get that raise.

Step 6: Have the 60-Day Review and Ask the Status of the Raise

In this meeting, you'll review all of your activities and summarize your financial impact. The more you can quantify the results of your efforts, the better! Once you present the facts you can ask your boss what the steps are for you to receive a raise. Be prepared to hear it may not be something he can put into effect the next day, but he should be able to tell you when you can receive it.

Step 7: What If You Don't Get the Raise?

If your boss still doesn't give you a raise after this process, you now could consider letting him know you are aware your co-worker makes more than you. It will no longer seem petty since you made such a committed effort to offer value in exchange for more money. This can be sticky because you'll have to explain how you learned about the wage difference, but it should open up the conversation and force your boss to justify the salary differences. Keep in mind, you may not like what you hear, but at least you'll know the reason you aren't getting that raise. At which point, you can either continue to work with your boss to determine how you can make more money or get some added benefits (i.e. flextime). Or, you can start privately looking for a new job where you will be better compensated. Remember: you are an at-will employee. If you think you are worth more, then go find the employer who is willing to pay you more!

Bonus: You Gained New Skills You Can Market!

Even if you don't get the raise, the new skills and the measurable impact you've had on your employer's business is something you can put on your resume and leverage in your job search. The two months you spent trying to get a raise won't be for nothing. While you didn't get one from your current employer, the chances are much better now you can go get it with a a new employer.

P.S. - Enjoyed the post? Perhaps, you'd like to check out another one I wrote here on AOL:

The Insult that Catapulted My Career >>

From Our Partners:
Nowhere to Hide: Always on Stage at Work
J.T. O'Donnell

J.T. O'Donnell

Contributor

J.T. O'Donnell is a career and workplace expert who founded the top-ranked career advice site, CAREEREALISM.com. In 2009, she launched CareerHMO, the first on-line career care membership site which specializes in curing chronic career pain.

Add J.T. to your Google+ Circles.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

3 Comments

Filter by:
John Seattle

Companies pay those who they believe they can retain, who then can deliver what they need, who will boost their market presence, keep their position among competitors, and who has proven some skills to do just that in their past and gave enough in their interview to suggest they indeed are worth the risk. So if you want a raise, you just learned your co-worker makes more than you do, you aren't making it with the bills you have, the dreams you want to get going on....skip the two month process and lay it all out when you go IMMEDIATELY into your boss's office to say what you need, what you've done for the company, and why you need more....and then just ask point blank what you want. They know you'll walk eventually if you don't get what you need and they know or are guessing you already have something else lined up. In any case you have just bumped their trust in themselves to manage day to day business, their belief they picked a good candidate and lowered their chances of being seen favorable by their corp structure if you do leave. Keep that in mind. You'll get your raise. If not...you know what to do next.

November 24 2013 at 10:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dickn2000b

Get a raise in 60 days...Doo Dah, Doo Dah!
Get a raise in 60 days...Oh Doo Dah Day.

November 05 2013 at 2:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
littlepagejames

This is happening to me right now. I have been with my company in Middleburg Heights, Ohio for 5 years. My co-worker has been with the company less than 2 years. I have trained him on proprietary medical billing software and have done special projects and multiple tasks that are not technically part of my job description. By reading and researching I have trained myself on certain Adobe products to maintain documents for this company I work for. I have done everything except for step 7. I just don't want to go through the "drama" of explaining to my boss how I know my co-worker is making more than I am! As much as I like working for this company, I have decided that it is time to find a new employer! Just wish the job market was better in the Cleveland, Ohio area!! I registered with an employment agency and submitted my information to them. I am also going back to school for a post-bachelors certificate in Information Technology to make myself more marketable. If anyone has any other suggestion that would be helpful on my job search besides the obvious, "patience" it would be appreciated. Thank you!

November 05 2013 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to littlepagejames's comment
calrobinson601

I would suggest you get a A+ certification it will only take about two month to studies. and get a help desk Job until you finished you Information Technology degree, than you can continue and get other certification

November 05 2013 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Jobs

In Partnership With
Keywords:
Location:

Search Articles

Top Companies Hiring

April 13 - April 20

Looking for work? See what companies added new openings this week.