Preparing to Ask for a Raise or Promotion - Issue #94
You can't just walk into your manager's office
I often talk with my clients about maximizing their earning potential throughout their careers. To successfully negotiate raises and promotions, you have to demonstrate that your value to the organization is continuously increasing.
In other words, if you continue to do the work that you’ve always done, at the level of contribution that is expected for your current level, that is not enough. That is only “meeting expectations.”
You may get a minimal raise as a cost of living increase (e.g., 2–3%), or you may receive nothing. But, with the current annual inflation rate at over 6% in the U.S., that small raise means you’d actually be getting a pay cut.
First, you need to understand what the expectations are for the level above you. Then, you must focus on clearly performing at that level.
It’s also important to demonstrate proof that you are operating at that level. It’s hard to justify a raise if no one is even aware of what you are doing. Don’t expect your manager to take your word for it.
The business of your career
What I wish I had known earlier in my career is how important it is to treat your career like a business. This is what I recommend to all of my clients.
You can’t just put your head down and work hard within the walls of your company, hoping that a good boss will always recognize your contribution and value and commensurately reward you.
The world needs to know that you exist!
I work with so many talented people who have virtually no presence online or at real-world events either. They are so busy working hard — and living their lives — that they haven’t bothered to put themselves out there. They haven’t spent much time networking, public speaking, or writing.
Like any business that wants to succeed, you need to market the “business of you.” Find ways to demonstrate your expertise and talent outside of the office. Show the world what you know and how you think.
Being more visible is hard for many people, especially those of us who are a bit introverted. It requires that you find a way to publicly share your knowledge and insights.
Creating this content generates inbound interest in you. Being in demand is one way to always know your value and have negotiating power.
Some of my most talented employees, who were also good at marketing themselves, had unsolicited job offers coming in every week. They didn’t have to hunt for jobs.
Jobs came to them and they always knew their value. They weren’t shy about asking for raises and promotions, because they knew they had options.
Note, I am not saying that they used job offers as leverage to threaten me. I highly recommend that you never use that approach with your manager.
Instead, we would honestly discuss and evaluate job offers they had received.
We’d talk about the pros and cons of taking the offer vs. staying. Sometimes I had insight into that company and their potential boss and colleagues there.
If it truly seemed like an amazing opportunity with no hidden “gotchas,” who was I to stand between them and a great chance to advance their career much more quickly than they could with me?
Be in demand
Asking for a raise or promotion is so much easier when you know that you are clearly delivering value above and beyond your current level.
You’re not asking for special treatment with a chance to prove yourself later. You have already proven that you are worth that investment.
When you are known and in demand, you are constantly receiving data that confirms your value. Putting yourself out there allows the right people to be aware of you and find you.
Sooner or later, someone will want to talk with you about an opportunity. There is nothing wrong with having conversations with people who are interested in hiring you.
It’s good practice to interview with the few that are of particular interest to you. If your current job, compensation, and career path all still seem great in comparison to something new, then, by all means, stick with your current job!
However, if your current manager and company don’t recognize and compensate you appropriately for your value — and a new company will — then it’s time to seriously consider an offer from that company.
Don’t be hasty
The grass isn’t always greener, so take the time to deeply evaluate any new opportunity. You don’t want to be hasty and jump ship, only to regret it later.
I have always used a spreadsheet to quantitatively compare different opportunities on dozens of factors. It helps me remain a bit more objective, although emotion can’t help but play a role too. Sometimes you are just really excited about a new opportunity or really upset about something going on in your current job.
Regardless of whether you decide to stay in your current job or pursue something new, you should be compensated appropriately for the value you bring to an organization.
When you know that you are delivering above and beyond your current job level, have an honest conversation with your manager about your expectations and ambitions. If you never ask for something, you may never receive it!
A few members of my Invincible Career Accelerator have used the advice and support from the community to find better jobs and receive promotions. For example, one person received a 10x return on his investment in the Accelerator when he landed a new job with a much higher salary this year.
We all want to be compensated as much as possible for our time and effort. We all want to find work that we enjoy.
However, we sometimes get stuck and find ourselves blocked without a clear path ahead. When this happens, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and feel like there’s no way to escape a bad job or get paid what we are worth.
That’s why it helps to join a friendly and supportive community of people who have “been there and done that.” We can help you explore options, prepare for your job search, practice job interviews, and hold you accountable for making progress.
The check-ins and the accountability to the group have helped many people overcome obstacles. More importantly, it makes people invest in themselves and their happiness.
So, that’s my quick tip today. If you are feeling stuck and nothing is working, lean on us and let the community help you break free.
🎁 Are you still looking for a holiday gift for a friend or family member? Would they enjoy joining a supportive professional community that could help them make more money next year? Give them the gift of a premium subscription!
Larry Cornett is a leadership coach and business advisor who hosts a private mastermind community for ambitious professionals with weekly challenges, office hours, and 24x7 support. If you’re interested in starting your own business or side hustle someday (or accelerating an existing one), check out his “Employee to Solopreneur” course (launching in 2022).
Larry lives in Northern California near Lake Tahoe with his wife and children, and a gigantic Great Dane. He does his best to share advice to help others take complete control of their work and life. He’s also on Twitter @cornett.
📰 Interested in sponsoring an upcoming newsletter? Contact me for more information about ad placements.