6. February 2012 21:54
Asking for a raise is a daunting proposition – especially in today’s climate of number-crunching and bean counting, you’ve probably put it off as long as you can, not wanting to be turned down. But as unfair as it seems, at some point in your career you’re going to have to gird your loins and ask for a raise. Here are some tips for getting a higher wage:
- Be realistic. Many areas of the healthcare industry, like hospitals, HMO-run clinics and governmental health agencies, have a regular schedule for pay raises, and you won’t get anywhere asking out of turn. The raises and promotions are figured into the budgets, and you’ll simply have to wait until seniority dictates that it’s your turn for a raise.
- Get as much as you can going in. The best time to talk salary is when you’re being hired – so try to get the upper range of the salary curve when you get hired. Stress your background and experience, and make them realize that you’re a good investment for their company.
- Come prepared. If you believe that you deserve more because of what other people with your experience are making, come armed with those figures. You can find what other employers are paying on the Internet and through professional organizations.
- Push your accomplishments. Looks at your strongest traits, examine what it is that you bring to the job that makes you so valuable, and then point that out to your supervisor. Whether you’re a great team member, a leader, have achieved notable mileposts in your job, these are all things that increase your value as an employee, so point that out.
- Be confident. Don’t walk into your boss’s office apologizing for yourself and shyly asking if, maybe, you could, you know, get a raise. Be strong, be firm, state your request right at the start of the meeting. Tell your boss how much you enjoy your job and working with them. Don’t turn your request into a threat that you’ll leave – then say that you feel you should be earning a higher salary, state how much more you want, and then tell them why. Ask for a specific dollar amount, so they have a figure to work with.
- Do it in person. Keep it light, keep it casual, but definitely make the request face-to-face. Never ask for a raise in a memo, letter or e-mail. It should always be done in an in-person meeting.
- Don’t get emotional. This is about business; it’s not about how much your boss likes you. Don’t be accusatory (“I should have gotten a raise long before this”) or take it personally. Just be calm, confident and businesslike.
- Be proud of yourself. Asking for a raise is one of the most difficult thing that people do in the healthcare (and every other) field. Even if you don’t get your raise, congratulate yourself for fighting your fears and stepping up to the plate. You probably would have made a good impression on your boss, too - you’ve shown that you’re confident and you know your worth.