Professional Development

Get a raise without asking for one

Written by Michael Hoon

You’ve put in the time and work and want to see the results in your paycheck. But while just simply steeling yourself and asking might be your most direct bet, it’s tough. Many of us probably would rather suffer along with our current measly salaries than actually get up the courage to face our managers in person. If this sounds like you, never fear: there are ways of asking for a raise without directly asking for a raise.

If you’re backwards about coming forwards, here’s what to try.

Be everybody’s go-to guy or gal.

If there’s a crisis or a conundrum, be the team member everybody else turns to: the port in a storm, the level head, or the problem solver. Bonus points if you’re also the one everybody likes and trusts the most.

Do more/better.

If you can bring on extra clients or customers or drastically cut cost by switching to a new supplier? Aces. Show your value by helping the company grow or by making a direct influence on its bottom line—especially if your company is suffering. If you don’t help bring in more business, how can they even afford to up your pay?

Do everything you were hired to do—extremely well—plus take on as many additional value-adding projects as you can. If you rock everything you take on, everyone around you will notice.

Make your boss look good.

Your boss is human and therefore susceptible to this kind of vanity. Remember: she probably wants a pay bump as much as you do. Do whatever you can to make her look good and she’ll probably be more inclined to help you out by seeing that you receive extra monetary appreciation. After all, she’ll want to keep you around so the good work and accolades continue.

Do the grunt work.

You know those hot potato projects nobody wants to touch? That work no one wants to do? Volunteer and do it with style and vigor. Not only your boss will appreciate this—your whole team will be grateful and have you to thank. And the more popular you are come review time, the better your odds of getting upgraded in the salary department.

Get someone on the inside.

If possible, seek out an advocate within your company—someone high up enough who really knows your capabilities and has influence over decisions. It could be your boss or another mentor within the company. Find someone you know likes you and your work to sing your praises when the time comes—a trusted company voice lobbying for you is gold come review time.

Make yourself irreplaceable.

The more you render yourself indispensable, the more valuable you become. If your boss and company realize they could not perform without you, they’ll do what it takes to keep you around.

Go beyond your job description.

Don’t just get good at what you do and train up on the skills and experience you need for your specific job. Inform yourself on current industry trends and the evolution of your field and company. Follow the latest developments and challenges and start thinking about possible changes you can make within your company. Ask the questions the higher-ups don’t have time to delve into and find viable solutions. There’s no way people won’t notice you if you make a long-lasting change that gets tangible results.

About the author

Michael Hoon