You’ve probably read a lot recently about how women avoid asking for raises, promotions and more responsibility. Yes, there is a still a gap between how much men and women are paid. But since men do negotiate more, maybe there’s something we women can do to fix that.
Instead of complaining or being upset, you can find a respectful and appropriate way to ask for what you deserve. Here are some tips to help you prepare to ask for a raise:
First, make a spreadsheet with your original salary, what you currently make and any raises or bonuses you’ve already received. This is to show that you’re aware of what you’ve been paid already and aren’t trying to obscure any compensation you’ve already received. Any time you can show you’re detail-oriented and organized is a good opportunity to remind your boss why you’re a valuable asset.
List your responsibilities and show how you’ve grown since you’ve been at the company. Bosses are results-oriented; they want to know how you helped their company. Did you increase profits? Did you take on additional responsibilities when a coworker left? Did you save them money by doing more work? If you can prove that you have contributed to the bottom line, then you can prove that you deserve a reward.
I recommend keeping a folder in your inbox that includes praise from clients, bossses, vendors, basically anyone you work with. This is useful when asking for a raise because you can prove that you’re a valuable member of staff, instead of just saying that you are. By reminding your boss how much they wanted you around, you show them that replacing you would be costly and time-consuming. You don’t have to threaten to leave if you don’t get the raise, but it doesn’t hurt to show your supervisor that your contribution would be missed. It also helps to list any other activities you’ve done, like organizing company outings or setting the monthly staff lunch.
Websites like Glassdoor.com show what other people in your profession make which also prove that the salary you want is commiserate with your experience and knowledge. You should also include the responsibilities for those positions, to show that those numbers are on par for the job you do. You have to show that what you want is something you deserve, not just something you want.
When you ask for a raise, you should ask for a salary range. Let’s say you want to increase your salary to $50,000. If you currently make $38,000, then asking for $45,000 to $55,000 is a good way to ensure that you’ll get close to what you want. That way even if your boss can’t give you the higher end of the range, you’ll still be happy with the middle.
I think some women, myself included, worry that asking for a raise makes you look bad. There’s this perception that if women are too vocal or opinionated, they’re labeled as bitches. Some studies even show that women who negotiate during job interviews are perceived more negatively than men who do the same thing.
My mom once said that if you ask for a raise and they don’t give it to you, you’re not any worse off than before. If you ask and get it, then you’ve increased your income.
Either way, asking for things is how we build confidence. We have to feel that we deserve more, that we deserve the right to ask and the right to prove that we’re worth more. I think back to my first job and how I should have negotiated for a higher salary. No one is thinking of ways to get you more money – if you want it, you have to ask for it.