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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Money

4 Ways to Prove to Your Boss That You Deserve a Raise—and a Big One at That

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A salary boost would be nice, right? There’s definitely a tried-and-true strategy for getting one: Take on more responsibility, work hard, and prove to your boss it would be worth it to give you more money—lest the competitors snatch you up.

But what if you’ve looked around, and you can’t find any meaningful responsibilities to add to your job? Or, worse, you’ve already tried that, and you still haven’t gotten the raise? Then it’s time for a new approach—such as these four innovative techniques that are practically guaranteed to get your manager’s attention.

1. Take a Class

Getting more money is about proving you’re worth more—so grow your skill set by taking a course.

Not only are there a ton of free online options (we’ve got 43 great ones), but you can also look into taking classes at the local community college or university. Better yet, if your organization offers its own professional development options, use those.

How should you decide what to take? Simple: Go to your boss and ask.

You can say something along the lines of, “Hi, I’m working hard to become a more valuable team member this quarter, and I’d love to know what skills would be most helpful for me to learn.”

(The great thing about this question? It lays the groundwork for when you finish the course and bring up the raise.)

If you prefer a subtler approach, try, “What skill do you wish you had or what area would you like to be stronger in?” Then, use that answer to pick a corresponding class.

2. Take Something Off Your Boss’ Plate

I’ll never forget how excited my boss became when I asked, “What are some essential but boring tasks that you dread?” followed by, “And can I take them off your plate?”

(She even wrote an article about it!)

Your manager might not have anything he or she can delegate to you, but if that’s the case, your helpfulness will still be noticed and appreciated. You can take things a step further by asking your boss for permission to go to other departments and ask for their essential-but-sucky chores “in the interest of helping the company and getting some cross-functional experience.”

There’s no better way to prove to your supervisors that you’re both willing to work hard and able to make their lives easier than by volunteering to take over a not-so-fun assignment. Who wouldn’t want to reward you?

3. Exceed Your Goals

If you’ve looked around and don’t see any big opportunities to take on more, beating your manager’s expectations is a fantastic way to build up an argument for a salary increase.

For example, maybe your boss has given you a sales goal of four clients per month. Commit to scoring five or six clients—and keep track of every month that you do. After several successful months, you can go to your boss with proof of your dedication and increased value.

In addition to the bigger goals, you can consistently turn in projects and assignments before their set deadlines. However, a word of warning: It’s better to turn in a high-quality project on time than a mediocre project early, so make sure your work isn’t suffering for the sake of speed.

4. Mentor Someone

To demonstrate your leadership abilities and investment in the company, mentor other people. It will not go unnoticed.

If your organization has a formal mentorship program, you should absolutely take advantage of it and enroll. But, even if your company doesn’t having anything set up, there’s still plenty of opportunities to do it informally. Look around for someone beneath you and ask him or her to grab lunch. You don’t have to say, “I’d love to be your mentor,” (although you can!)—just consistently get together with the person and give career feedback and support. The relationship should develop naturally. As that person’s career improves, it’s almost inevitable yours will, too—if even for the small reason that you’ll be improving your leadership and communication skills.

Now that you’ve done all the legwork, the next step is actually asking for that raise. I know, I hear you, that’s the scary part. The good news is that we’ve got you covered! You can kick it off by asking yourself these three questions first. Then, once you’ve answered those, read our ultimate guide to getting a pay increase, along with steps on how to actually negotiate your raise.

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