It’s true – I asked for a $42,000 raise, and boy am I glad I did it.
Before we begin, I’m not saying you should ask for as much as $42,000; it was a bold ask from me but my role had changed significantly and I backed it up with market data and quantifiable deliverables.
But, if you want to ask for a raise that’s actually noticeable on your paycheck after tax (~$10,000 or more per year) you need to be prepared to pitch yourself.
Even if you only get an extra $3,000 per year, that’s an extra $30,000 over 10 years.
That’s enough to save for a downpayment in some cities.
WHY ARE YOU SHARING THIS?
Because your life earnings and overall economic output shouldn’t be stunted or dictated by beige HR cardigans who cower behind “but your title is this...” or “but the average is...” or hiring managers who have never had the courage to ask for a raise themselves.
Of course, you have to act within reason but the primary determinants of your salary shouldn’t be your “title” or what the “average person” in this job makes.
If you deliver value beyond what the average person does in a particular job title or what you were originally brought on to do – and can communicate it clearly and objectively – why shouldn’t you ask for a raise and title change?
BUT SHOULDN’T I JUST BE LUCKY TO HAVE A JOB?
That is an old school mentality from the post-war baby boomer generation.
It comes down to how you’re being perceived and how you navigate the job market. Nowadays, if you have half a brain, a moderate EQ, and can Google “how to” – you’re pretty much viable in the market.
These are not the ramblings of an older millennial who feels entitled to a raise or job – you still have to deliver after all. I entered the job market as the recession hit and I know what it’s like to enter a tough labour market. But I’ve also coached hundreds of people on how to find meaningful work through live résumé sessions and my complimentary email course.
Thanks to the internet and the proliferation of digital products, new markets and industries that never existed 30 years ago can emerge overnight and provide countless job opportunities. Billions of dollars can be made in the first year of new products. This doesn’t just create new jobs for these hyper-growth companies; it guts other companies of talent.
The rate that companies can expand nowadays is far faster than the talent pool is growing.
Other socioeconomic factors are also at play. In 2016 Forbes noted that 35% of US workers are freelancers and collectively earned ~$1 trillion dollars. People are no longer pursuing traditional 9-5 jobs because they simply don’t have to. Also, in some industries, people are “ghosting” new jobs because they’re being snapped up elsewhere. I don’t agree with this practice but as someone noted:
“I think they have learned it from the employers… employers were notorious for never getting back to people, and only letting them know what was going on if it turned out they wanted them to go to the next step.”
This is why candidates (you) are no longer commodities; jobs are.
If you’re struggling to find work nowadays it means you’re navigating the market wrong. Sign up for my free email course for some career acceleration tips.
HERE’S A LINK TO THE SLIDE DECK (and below is an example).
1. Summarize Your Current Role.
What were you originally hired to do? This description should be pretty generic; you want the contrast of what you’ve accomplished (next slide) to be pretty significant.
Schedule time with decision makers (not HR unless you report to them) and let them know it’s to provide an overview of your role and you’d like to discuss compensation options.
2. Summarize What You’ve Accomplished in the Last 12-18 Months.
These should be quantifiable results that objectively show how you’ve brought value to the company.
You can’t use generic terms like “improved systems and processes”. Use the Time, Money, Manpower concept and be sure to provide specific details such as “implemented a new project management tool in under 4 weeks and provided training to over 40 colleagues.”
This makes it objective – no one can contest what you’ve delivered if you quantify it. Also, this is not the time to be humble. Don’t lie, but don’t downplay any successes you’ve had.
3. Paint The Dream.
Map out the next 12-18 months and what you want to accomplish for the business. Choose 3-5 big goals that you can hit for the company (remember, you have to be able to deliver these results). These deliverables should be very different from your original job description and you have to emphasize the stretch in your growth and ability to deliver.
4. Kill Your Old Title.
And ask for a new one. You need to disassociate your current role and title from what you’re going to do for the company in your next role.
This separation helps you make bigger jumps in salary because you’re showing how different the roles are – you’re not comparing apples to apples.
Tell them “I understand this is a big departure from what I was originally brought on to do but I’ve shown you that I can deliver results and I’m invested in this company.”
5. Map Out Your Strategy.
You have to back up your goals with substance. Provide a high-level roadmap on how you are going to accomplish what you promised.
6. Provide Multiple Options.
Salary negotiations need to have some give and take. Provide 2 or 3 salary options for management to review and consider. Options show that you’re willing to have a conversation and are not providing an ultimatum.
Also, realize that they’re not paying this upfront. You’re asking for this figure over the course of 12 months where at the same time you’re going to be bringing intrinsic value to the business.
If the scope of your role has grown by 30% then why shouldn’t your compensation also grow by 30%?
7. Back It Up With Market Intel.
You can’t just pull a number out your rear end. Do your research using LinkedIn, Glassdoor and other relevant sites (remember what I said about being able to use Google?). I used a combination of online research and a well-known salary guide.
8. Recap (with confidence and enthusiasm).
You have to portray confidence in your ability to deliver what you’ve outlined and that you’re worth what you’re asking for. If people don’t believe you they ain’t gonna pay for you. Wrap it up and thank them for their time.
This is just one way to ask for a raise so feel free to add your comments and ideas below.
Sam is the Founder of thehiddenjobmarket.co – a career coaching, résumé-writing and recruitment business. He's previously landed jobs at Apple and lululemon. Following this he was a headhunter for the executive arm of the largest recruitment firm in the world - Adecco - and also for the largest privately-owned Canadian recruitment firm - Design Group Staffing Inc.
He has worked for Canada’s most innovative company – Axiom Zen/CryptoKitties – and now coaches people around the world on navigating the job market and how to grow professional networks.