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Six Steps to Asking for a Raise -- and Getting It

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Has it been more than 12 months since you received a salary increase? If so, you may be overdue for a raise. The average raise in base pay is expected to be 2.9% in 2014, according to survey results from Mercer.

If you are hesitant to approach your manager about a raise, remember in the professional world, worth and value are linked to pay. And many times, if you don't raise the topic of compensation, your manager will just continue with the status-quo. So, it is up to you to raise your hand and get what you deserve.

Here are six steps to asking for a raise - and getting it:

Step #1: Find out when salary decisions are made. Plan on talking to your manager as early as three months before salary reviews.

Step #2: Take an honest assessment of your performance. Make a list of your accomplishments over the past 12 months. The more detailed information about your successes the better. Excellent performance reviews are the best way to position yourself for a raise.

Step #3: Gather market data for comparable positions. It's always a good idea to know what the going rate is for your position. Spend some time researching the average salary for your job. Try to get as close as possible to an apples to apples comparison by looking at organizations in the same location and of similar size. The variables that most influence your pay are education, experience, performance, industry, size of organization. Some resources that provide free salary data are:

If you want more specific compensation information, visit my website, Keating Advisors for a customized salary report.

Step #4: Schedule a meeting with your manager. Once you've gathered labor market data, you are ready to ask for a raise. Schedule some time with your manager to discuss your career goals and compensation aspirations. Let him or her know that you want to better understand how compensation is determined.

Step #5: Talk about your contributions and your market value. When meeting with your manager, clearly articulate how you've contributed to the organization's success. Map your skills against what the organization values. Let your manager know that you, like all business-savvy professionals, keep abreast of the market value of your position and you believe you are deserving of a raise.

Step #6: Anticipate potential objections. If you get push-back about the data, focus the conversation on how you want to better understand your compensation and how it is set. If you're told that there isn't enough money in the budget or there are financial constraints (which may be entirely true and valid), offer creative solutions. Try to gain agreement that the market rate you are looking for is reasonable.

Be sure to end the conversation on a positive note. Always be professional and gracious. Hopefully you will be working with this person for a long time so use this as an opportunity to develop a greater comfort level around communication.