Do you want to make more money? If you want a raise, chances are that you are going to have to ask for one. After all, most employers aren’t just going to offer to give you more money.

Before you ask for a raise, though, you need to lay some groundwork. When you go in for a meeting with your boss, you need to back up your request by showing that you really deserve the increase in pay. Here are 7 tips you can use to increase the chances that you will get a raise:

1. Show Quantifiable Results

You need to demonstrate that you have produced measurable results in your position. Have you improved the fortunes of the company? Do you complete projects on time? If you want a raise, you need to show your value. Be specific about what you have done; you need to make your value clear and measurable. Use action words to describe your work.

2. Develop Soft Skills

It may seem unusual, but soft skills can be very helpful in securing a raise. Good oral and communication skills, leadership, positive attitude, and creativity can help you get a raise. Develop skills that can help you help the boss, and you are more likely to be seen as valuable.

3. Earn a Certification

Depending on your line of work, a certification can be helpful in securing a raise. Find out whether or not a hard skill, or a certification, or an advanced degree will benefit you in your line of work. In some cases, your employer might even help you pay for the cost of your training. Be careful, though; some fields won’t pay you more just because of a certification. Make sure it is likely to benefit you.

4. Work Smarter

It’s important to work hard, but you also need to work smart. Find out what goals management is working toward, and make it a point to help advance those goals. Whether you work to hearten other employees, or whether you have a more direct plan to help the company, working smarter can help you get a raise.

5. Research Salaries for Similar Work

If you are going to ask for a raise, you should have an idea of what others are making. Research the salary made by those who do similar work, with similar expertise. Do your research for those who work in your market. If you are underpaid, being able to show that is important.

6. Schedule a Private Meeting

You don’t want to surprise your boss with this request, and you certainly don’t want to do it in front of others. Don’t set up a situation in which your boss could lose face, and you don’t want your boss to be upset that you might inspire other workers to ask. Make an appointment, and discuss the matter privately. Be carefully about the timing, though.

You want to schedule a time when your boss is in a good mood. Don’t choose a time when you are all working to meet a deadline (wait until after, when you’ve done your part).

7. Be Willing to Negotiate

It helps to be willing to accept a little less than you originally asked for. Your boss may not be able to give you as much money as you would like. In some cases, you might need to be willing to negotiate, accepting less. Or, perhaps, you can negotiate a different compensation package, such as more days off or better health benefits. If you are willing to negotiate a little, you might end up with something, rather than nothing.

Know what you are willing to give up, and what you are willing to accept. And, if you have other options, it might make sense to make that known. But you need to be truly ready to walk if you go this route and start issuing ultimatums.

In the end, it’s all about making yourself valuable. Work toward proving yourself, preparing ahead of time to hone your skills and do good work, and you will be better able to argue your case for a raise.

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