How To Get A Raise When Times Are Tough

We’ve offered our suggestions for what to do in these uncertain financial times, but many of those ideas focused on hunkering down and riding out the storm. But what if you want to do more than that? How can you thrive in spite of the economy?

One option is to get a raise. Yes, you really can get a raise nowadays as long as one is warranted. To this end, Free Money Finance lists five steps you should take to demonstrate you deserve a raise as follows:

1. Determine the expectations for your position.
2. Work to overperform.
3. Document your success.
4. Show you’re underpaid too.
5. Have a great attitude.

They note that while all five all of these steps will help you get a raise, the one vital criteria is overperforming. Even in tough economic times, those that do more than expected are strong candidates for raises either at their own companies or similar ones. On the other hand, if you’re just meeting company expectations it’s very hard to justify a raise even in fair economic conditions, and it’s almost impossible to do so these days.

And even if your company can’t (or won’t) give you a raise due to “economic conditions”, following these steps will certainly increase your job security and put you first in line when raises resume.

How to Demonstrate that You Deserve a Raise [Free Money Finance]

FREE MONEY FINANCE (Photo: Getty)

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  1. Chols says:

    Be sure to play the office politics game to your advantage. Don’t be immoral tho, it may work against you.

    I just read a decent article on howstuffworks.com about How Office Politics Work.

  2. JN2 says:

    I snuck through these dark times by slipping in a small-print addendum to my employment contract that gave me 14 million just after a few weeks on the job. You should try it, it works!

    Oh, and become CEO of a bank about to collapse. That always helps too.

  3. mythago says:

    Actually, the last paragraph should also note that these steps will help make you a good candidate for a better job. If your employer can’t or won’t give you a raise despite excellent performance, a positive attitude and showing that you have earned a raise, maybe another employer will.

    • sasper says:

      @mythago: That’s what I’m hoping for. I over performed, had a positive attitude, made the company boatloads of money, and even played the office politics game the past 6 months, and won’t be getting a raise because of the “economic conditions”.

      My resume is now updated, recruiters contacted, and interviews scheduled. I’ll be gone from this company within a month. Should be interesting to see what they counter with when they realize I can leave, and the relationship with our current huge client will be gone when I do.

  4. BrianDaBrain says:

    In a lot of places I’ve worked, raises are determined as much by who you know as by your work performance. I’ve been known to use that to my advantage ;) But seriously, these are great steps, and I’m fairly well-paid because of them.

  5. MissPeacock says:

    Everyone at my company gets a review at the same time of the year, so you can’t exactly ask for a raise any other time. However, I have been keeping track of everything I do and the extra things I work on so that when my next review rolls around, I’ll be prepared. (Although I will say that my boss already has my raise figured up before the review even happens, so I don’t know how effective that will be.)

  6. mobilehavoc says:

    Raises depend more on how the company is doing than how you’re doing. If the company has huge losses (like many this year) not sure how you can expect to get a raise. In some cases, you should be focused on keeping your job.

    IMHO, asking for a raise in these times is political suicide. People will look at you like you’re out of touch with current events!

  7. Haltingpoint says:

    What most people don’t realize it that it all comes down to the bottom line. Who you know is only part of the equation.

    If you have calculated how much you have made the company beyond the cost of your services (typically double your salary for benefits/overhead and such), that can be a strong point in your favor.

    Also, if they’ve recently laid off people in a cost cutting measure and dumped a lot of new responsibilities in your lap you may want to hit them up for a raise for the increased work load and if you are vital enough to them threaten to leave if they will not fairly compensate you for your efforts.

    Of course you need to make sure you are not expendable and you need to know where you stand in the pay scale range.

    Bottom line, it is definitely possible to get a raise in these times, but you have to prove to them that it is worth their while, one way or another.

  8. george_dubya_tee_eff says:

    “you need to know where you stand in the pay scale range.”

    -I am the top producing member of my department, who also has been with the company the longest. Unfortunately, i found out (dont ask) that somehow i make the least. I guess im not as good at haggling for salary during the interview as the other guys. I honestly believe that if i never found that out… i wouldnt really care about a raise. But since i found out… i cant get over the idea that my boss is knowingly screwing me over, especially when he blames on “current economic conditions”.

  9. sonneillon says:

    Be the only person at your work who can do your job and then make it seem mysterious how your job is actually performed. Then your raise seams more like extortion then a raise. Also have a job “in the hole” that way you have the mentality of I’ve got another offer if I need it. Gives confidence when trying to get more money.

  10. floydianslip6 says:

    for real, it is that simple. I’m living proof. I guess the key is to actually deserve the raise…