The Secret to Getting a Raise

There are many challenges that every job seeker must face, even after landing a job. One day every man and woman must walk over to their boss’s office and politely ask,

“Can I have more money?”

Obviously the question is never that simple and cannot be asked so plainly. Rather, the quest for a raise must be approached delicately, thoughtfully and with as much dedication as one spends finding employment in the first place.

“The first secret to getting a raise is to know how much ‘value’ companies are placing on that type of position,” Skip Freeman, author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!, told StreetID. “If you are already above market value, your chances of getting a raise in this economy are weaker. If you are at or below market value, then build your case as follows.

“First, when is your annual review? Most raises will come then. Be prepared by having a list of your most recent accomplishments and achievements and work backwards to the one(s) when you got your last raise. The accomplishments and achievements should be quantifiable and ideally show how you made your company money and/or saved your company money. (Increase revenues 12.7% from x to y; brought in 28 new clients increasing assets under management by $37 million, etc.).”

Freeman said that in this economic environment, “Three to five percent for a raise is good.”

“If a raise isn’t mentioned or raises don’t typically come at the review, then ask for an appointment with your boss,” Freeman recommended. “In that conversation, let him/her know how much you enjoy working there and how you value the professional development you are getting. Then say, ‘Based upon the last year, I would like to review the accomplishments and achievements I have brought to the team and ensure they are aligned with what you need and want accomplished.’

“Lay them out and then ask a closing question such as (and we will call your boss Jim), ‘Jim, based upon these accomplishments and achievements, when do you feel I would be able to receive a 4% raise for my contributions?’ Your boss’ answer will let you know where they think you stand and/or it will let you know where your company stands financially.”

Whatever happens, Freeman said that working professionals should never use a job offer as leverage to get a raise. “That is perceived as a threat and even if they give you a raise, you have broken trust and you might not get your next raise or even eventually get replaced,” Freeman warned.

“Most people who use a job offer from another company as a source of leverage, get a pay raise and then stay, find themselves among the first to be let go in the future any time there is weakness in the economy.”

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “Don’t be irreplaceable; if you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.” Freeman believes “that maxim is irrefutable.”

“Now the counter to that is, ‘If I become replaceable there is a chance that, instead of being promoted, I might be downsized and they hire someone who is cheaper than me,'” he said. “Yes, that is true and that does happen today. That is the risk.

“So what you do is make yourself indispensable. Someone in today’s marketplace who is indispensable is someone who is a team player, has an optimistic and positive attitude and constantly ‘makes a company money or saves a company money’ through sales, cost reductions or process improvements.

“Then, if you get downsized rather than promoted, you are valuable to the next company who wants to hire you and you are a highly sought after individual.”

Get Hired Now

These days, job seekers have a million options, but we know where they should turn: StreetID. We built StreetID (a financial career matchmaking website) from the ground up to accommodate Wall Street’s growing community of financial professionals. In good times and in bad, current job seekers and those looking to move on in the future can turn to StreetID and sign up for a free account and make a direct connection with relevant candidates and employers.

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