Careers

Why you need to ask for a raise today (and how to do it)

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Christian Science Monitor | Getty Images

Counting on an annual raise to boost your paycheck this year? Don't start spending that extra cash just yet. For the fifth month in a row now, salary growth has slowed, according to our Local Pay Reports. In fact, the median base pay for U.S. workers in June rose just 1.7 percent year-over-year — the slowest pace recorded since March 2016.

What's worse, for the first time in three years, that wage growth was slower than the rate of inflation (1.9 percent). In other words, the world around us is getting more expensive faster than most paychecks can catch up.

Whether this signals a larger economic slowdown remains to be seen, but what you can draw from this is that getting proactive about asking for a raise is becoming increasingly important. Rather than sitting around and waiting for your manager or HR to increase your paycheck, you need to speak up if you want to see more money in the bank at the end of each month.

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But the good news is, it's not too late. The economy is still relatively strong, with the unemployment rate down to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent last month. And while wage growth is stagnating, it is still increasing, so obtaining a raise is certainly not impossible (especially if you can demonstrate your value — more on that below!). However, there's no guarantee that these conditions will last forever, so it's important to take advantage of them while you can.

Convinced to take the leap and ask for a raise? Here's what you need to do.

1. Know your worth

Too often, our sense of whether our salary is good or bad is based on gut feeling and anecdotal evidence. Maybe you're jealous of a friend's higher salary even though they work in a different field, for example, or you think you have an awesome paycheck because it's higher than any of your coworkers'. But Glassdoor's Know Your Worth™ salary estimator can give you a much better sense of how your paycheck stacks up by providing a reference point for you to compare against.

Just enter your job title, location, years of experience, and a few other pieces of information to get a free, personalized estimate of what the market value of your skill set is. This way, you can not only understand if you're getting paid fairly — you have a concrete number to bring to the table with you when it comes time to negotiate your salary.

2. Prove your worth

After you've done your homework on the market value of your skills, it's time to start a conversation with your manager about getting your salary up to snuff. Bring it up in your next one-on-one meeting, or send an email to broach the subject.

Once you're in the room with them and ready to talk shop, clearly lay out what you're asking for and why you think you deserve it. Speak with confidence, and point to specific, recent accomplishments and the value you've brought to the company as reasons for why you deserve the salary you're proposing. Wherever you can, try to quantify your experience so you can demonstrate more tangibly how you've contributed to your company's bottom line.

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Gilles Mingasson | Getty Images

And don't worry — even if your company's not in a position where they can increase your pay at the moment, you can work with your manager to figure out when it might be possible and what you can do to ensure you reach your goal.

Feeling nervous about asking for a raise? Don't worry — you're far from alone in that sentiment. But the good news is, it gets easier and easier each time you do it. And once you come out on the other side with the salary you deserve, it will all have been worth it.

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This article originally appeared on Glassdoor.