A reporter recently interviewed me about how to get a raise. What, he asked, are the biggest mistakes people make? There are two, I replied, and they’re two sides of the same coin: insufficient preparation and failure to follow up.
1. You should always be preparing. It’s your job to supply your boss with the objective data that establishes your value in the company. That means two things in particular:
First, documenting your measurable contributions to the organization. What is most important to your boss? What’s the company’s top priorities or initiatives? How are you helping to move the needle? How can you measure that?
(Am I the right career coach for you? Email me to find out.)
Second, you should always keep abreast of your value in the marketplace. What is the industry salary range for your position? Besides online searches, your professional organization usually does annual salary surveys. (Just another excellent reason to get and keep involved with professional organizations.)
2. After the salary discussion, it’s your job to move the ball down the field. Always follow up immediately with an informal email that outlines all points of discussion, whether that’s how much of a raise starting when, or a list of performance improvements you’ve agreed to make by when. Follow up periodically if you’re working on skill development, detailing everything you’re doing to get up to speed. Schedule a followup appointment for the exact date if your boss has given you a timeline for reconsideration of your request.