Think you deserve a bigger paycheck? Want to ask for a salary raise but not sure you’ll get one?

Plenty of employees are finding themselves in this predicament, because many recession-wary companies that stopped handing out Salary raises during the economic downturn are still hesitant to open their wallets today. But career experts say that despite all the penny-pinching, a salary hike isn’t necessarily out of the question–so you might as well ask.

Asking for a salary raise is a delicate conversation and something you should not do without careful planning, says Dr. Katharine Brooks, director of Liberal Arts Career Services at The University of Texas at Austin “Being prepared can help you overcome your hesitation.”

Once you’ve determined whether it’s the right time to ask for a raise, here’s what you can do to get it:

Know your value. Do the proper research to figure out what you’re worth, even if it means going on interviews or using resources like Getraised.com, Payscale.com, or Glassdoor.com, If you find out you’re underpaid, you can use that to negotiate an increase.

“Look at salary surveys, cost-of-living comparisons, and rates of compensation within your organization, if possible,” Brooks says. “If you are aware that colleagues are earning more than you, tread carefully. You don’t want to put others in a negative light or violate a corporate written or unwritten rule about knowing what others earn. Simply present what the field generally pays, and why you believe your performance is at the top of your field.”

Know the number. Once you do the research, figure out what you think is a fair amount of money to ask for, says Thanasoulis-Cerrachio. “Have that number in your head when you ask for a raise.”

Schedule a meeting. Find a time that works best for you and your boss,Give your boss a head’s up that you want to chat about your career growth so that you both have ample time.

Practice salary negotiations. This can be a difficult or awkward conversation. Practice with a friend who can be a tough negotiator.

Start on a positive note. Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert suggests kicking off the conversation with something like, “I really enjoy working here and find my projects very challenging. In the last year, I’ve been feeling that the scope of my work has expanded quite a bit. I believe my roles and responsibilities, and my contributions have risen. I’d like to discuss with you the possibilities of reviewing my compensation.”

Or, “I’d like to discuss my career and how I can do my best work.”

Tell them you know that the company isn’t handing out raises. Anita Attridge, a Five O’Clock Club career and executive coach, says, “Make the case of why you should be an exception to this policy. This will need to focus on the results you have achieved for the company.”

State your case, and then pause. Listen to what your manager has to say. “Give it your best case for why you should get a raise,” says Thanasoulis-Cerrachio. “Never use idol threats or mislead an employer to think you have an outside offer. Make your case based on your research and the results of your work. The worst they can say is no.”

Must Read: The Art of Salary Negotiation

Depending on the response, gauge how much detail you now need and how much back up support you require, Taylor says.

Be specific. Give your boss a range for the raise you want, and explain why. “Be prepared to say, ‘After a lot of research, which I have here if you’d like to see it at some point, and how I feel I have contributed to the company, I would ask for you to consider an increase of $5,000 to $7,000. It has been ___ (time) since my salary was last reviewed. I greatly appreciate your consideration,” Taylor says.

Bring your personal kudos file. Bring a list of your key achievements, and focus specifically on the areas of accomplishment that are important to your manager, Attridge says.

“Bring up your strengths and talents, your accomplishments, your desire to do even more, and your ideas and plans for the future in your role at the organization,” Brooks adds.

Don’t be aggressive. Be diplomatic, well-prepared and assertive, but not aggressive.

Don’t threaten your employer. Whatever you do, don’t threaten to leave if you don’t get the raise, Brooks says.

You also shouldn’t threaten your boss with other job offers, interviews, recruiter conversations, etc., Taylor adds. “You run the risk of your boss mistrusting you, or in the worst case, if you’re already on somewhat shaky ground, him saying, ‘maybe you should consider those offers.’”

Ask for endorsements. “One of the most powerful ways to demonstrate to your manager that you deserve a raise, or at least some form of recognition for your results, is to have other people endorse the work you have done and how it helped them,” Attridge says. This may be done through a phone call to your manager or an e-mail. The more your manager hears about how your work has contributed to organization goals and results, the stronger you will be positioned to be seen as someone deserving of consideration for an exception in the time of no raises or at least some form of recognition.

Don’t share your sob story. “Don’t bring up personal issues,” Brooks says. Don’t tell your boss that you can’t afford your rent, or that you need a raise to cover other personal expenses. Stick to your accomplishments and the value you add to the company.

Be patient. Remember, your manager may need a few days to think it over and get back to you, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t get an instant “yes,” Taylor says. There’s also a chance your boss isn’t the one to make the decision. He or she might have to go to the higher-ups with your request.

 
This post is written by Jacquelyn Smith and the complete article is posted on the Forbes Blog.It quotes Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio, a career expert and Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert.
 

Thanks

Jappreet Sethi