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When is the perfect time to ask for a raise?

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The simple strategy that'll ensure you're taken seriously.

When the time's right to re-evaluate how much you're worth.

By Lucy E. Cousins, Metro

If you’re a little nervous about asking for a raise, join the club. Negotiating with your boss about money is a hard thing to do, especially if you’re not sure that the answer will be yes.

So how do you know when it’s best time to ask for a pay increase? To help you avoid disappointment, follow this simple guide for preparing for the conversation by asking yourself these five questions:

Am I performing as well as I can in this role?

There’s no use in asking for a raise if you’re not outstanding in your role. Are you the first in, last out? Do you put your hand up to help out on new projects? Are you on top of your emails and correspondence? It’s important to know how well you’re doing and what your strengths (and potential weaknesses) are before your meeting.

Can I present clear examples of why I deserve this raise?

If you’re blitzing your role, chances are that your boss has noticed, but if not, being able to produce facts, figures and examples of your influence and effectiveness in your role is essential. If your boss asks you why you deserve the raise, you need to answer clearly and concisely.

Has my role changed recently?

If your company just hired a large intake of staff and your job has eased up a bit, it might not be the best time to ask for a raise. However, if you’ve just taken on a higher responsibility load, and you’ve handled it well, then lock and load! The odds could be in your favor.

Have I worked longer than a year in my current role?

It’s a simple rookie mistake to ask for a raise within your first year with the company. That is, unless you negotiated a six-month raise when you were hired. If so, it might be worth negotiating the date of your next salary evaluation, too.

Do you understand the company budget cycle?

Being aware of when budgets are approved is key to understanding if you’re actually able to receive a raise. If the salary budgets were approved last week, for example, there’s no point in even asking your boss for a raise until about 12 weeks before they’re set again for next year.

What do I want from my raise?

Just asking for a ‘raise’ simply isn’t good enough. If your boss is considering it, you need to be able to quantify your request. Do you want a specific percentage increase, or perhaps you’re asking for benefits? Maybe what you’re actually interested in is a title change along with your raise. Being prepared to negotiate is a key skill to learn for these situations.

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