If you're hoping at get a raise this year, you're probably going to have to ask for one.
A survey of 1,138 people conducted by SoFi in August found that more than half wanted a raise, but only 33 percent were planning on explicitly asking for one. Confidently asking for more money at work is not natural for most people, Libby Leffler, vice president of membership at SoFi, tells CNBC Make It.
But that hesitation could keep you from getting ahead. "You don't get what you don't ask for," Leffler says. "The worst thing that person could do is say 'no.'"
Here are six things you should do before you sit down to talk money with your manager:
Before you even begin preparing to ask for a raise, make sure that you have a clear idea of what you are hoping to achieve. Be specific – how significant is the raise you're planning to ask for? What is the minimum outcome that will make the conversation worth it? What is important to you in your job and career?
It's also important to consider the point of view of the person across the table and use it to tailor your proposal. You want to convey to your manager that you're an attentive employee that works hard and wants to do a good job, not that you're only interested in taking home more money.
"It's not enough to walk into that room," Leffler said. There's a lot of preparation that should occur before you even set the meeting with your manager.
Become an expert on how your job is compensated at other companies in your industry and market, as well as how it's compensated in other industries and markets. Assess where you are on the scale, and pinpoint where you'd like to be. Make sure that you have data to back up any and all claims you make.
To help members understand their worth, SoFi recently launched an initiative called "Get That Raise" along with an online salary tool that helps with pay comparisons. Fidelity Investments also offers an online calculator to help users asses their job, as does Salary.com, Glassdoor, Indeed.com and Linkedin.
In addition, don't forget to look beyond dollars and cents for other things that may be easier to negotiate than higher pay.
"It's important to remember when you're looking at compensation that you're looking at all things," Leffler says. Benefits, vacation time, flexible work time and sick time is all part of your total compensation package, and can all be negotiated as part of a raise.
Be prepared to discuss the work you've done that you think merits increased compensation.
"You need to make a strong case for why you're deserving of a raise," Leffler says. "Preparing is such an important part of this step and is often overlooked."
This includes bringing in tangible evidence that you have done a great job and brought success to your company or team. Keep a record of your achievements, and copies of any congratulatory emails or notes that colleagues, clients or your manager has sent to you about your good work.
Make sure that you have practiced delivering your pitch out loud, to another person, before you walk into your manager's office, especially if you're nervous.
"Practice really makes perfect – it's not the same thing to think about it in your head and role play it with someone you trust," Leffler says.
Leffler suggests building a mini-board of directors for yourself full of people you can trust to give you honest feedback and be your cheering squad. Then, ask one of your trusted advisors to sit down and practice with you.
The best time to ask for a raise is not two weeks into a job, Leffler says. Make sure you've put in the time and the ask is appropriate. Additionally, if your company is in the middle of budget cuts or under financial strain, it might not be a great time to ask for more money (or you should at least be prepared for the strong likelihood that your request will be denied.)
Appropriate times to bring up a raise are during your performance review cycle, after you've made critical contributions to your team or after a big project where you've achieved a major milestone.
Remember, it is likely that when you ask your manager for a raise that the answer will be no. Manage your own expectations and listen to what your manager says after they say no – their reasoning could be valuable information for your future career growth.
"That should not be defeating," Leffler says. "That's an opportunity for you to say, 'Thank you for the feedback.'"
If your manager does say no, use it as a jumping off point, Leffler says. Discuss your manager's expectations for you and come up with an action plan for a raise or promotion in the next cycle.
When the time comes, don't hesitate to ask again, just make sure that you have put in the hard work and can prove that you deserve a raise.
"If you have the timing and context right, you have the evidence, don't be afraid to ask," says Leffler.
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