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Is a Raise in Your Future for 2010?

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By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Mary Sevinsky

Are you considering asking for a raise, but are fearful about the outcome?

It may be time to ask for a raise if it has been a year or more since you received a raise, or you have done exceptionally good work in the past 6 months. Do not ask for a raise unless this is the case.

If you are uncertain about your standing with your company, you may want to read, Am I being leveraged out of a job? Good employers want to keep good employees and money is a good way to accomplish this!

Employers Don’t Provide Timely Raises for a Variety of Reasons

1. No real policy or organized way to keep track of when to review or offer employees raises.

2. Fear that although things look good now, business might not be good in the future (this is especially true for small businesses).

3. Cheap – seriously, some employers make it a policy never to offer raises; wait for them to ask is their motto!

4. Lack of knowledge of the labor market. Some employers don’t know the prevailing wages, how to research them, and/or how much of a raise would be appropriate.

5. Flat or worse economy/market may also cause employers to procrastinate in the raise department.
There are probably a myriad of other reasons (or excuses) an employer could offer for not offering a valuable employee a raise. However, you should always ask – the worst you will hear is “no” and one or more of the above reasons.

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When You Do Ask for a Raise, Be Prepared

1. Determine if there is a policy for raises at your company. If it is a small company, it may be the best you can do is ask a co-worker what the policy is or if they have advice for you. Tread lightly here and use your best judgment. You don’t necessarily want to tip off your boss in advance you intend to ask for a raise.

2. Be prepared to highlight why you feel the company is poised to have a good year, and explain how you will continue to work toward that end. It is important to be objective and be able to quantify your statements whenever possible.

3. Think about your boss’s management style and personality, and be prepared to pitch the idea of a raise in a way he or she might be likely to buy into. If it seems likely business will pick up over the next year, but he may not agree to a raise now, then ask for a raise contingent upon certain achievements or goals over the next six months. Make it clear how you will contribute to the improvement of the business.

4. Do your research! Visit sites like Acinet.org to determine what similar positions in your geographic area tend to pay – don’t forget to factor in your education and experience. If possible, talk to other people who do a similar job with other companies and determine their pay structure and/or raise policies.

5. Given the severity of our recent economy woes, fear of the bad economy may be difficult to overcome. You should keep an eye on indicators, and time your request to a recent announcement of some positive movement in the economy, your industry, or business. It may sound cliché, but often timing IS everything! Check out this article: Why your worst paycheck may be behind you!

Mary is a Masters-prepared Career Counselor with over 18 years experience in resume writing, personal branding, career assessment and counseling. Specializing in non-traditional specialized careers and career-transitioning, she has the ability to synthesize and focus your unique skills and abilities to obtain interviews for the positions you want with the employers you want to notice you. Follow her on Twitter at @MarySevinsky.

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