Who doesn’t want to make more money at their 9-5 job? It’s common for people to feel like they aren’t being paid enough for what they do at work. Sometimes, though, instead of doing anything to try to earn a raise, people feel stuck with what they are making.
Clearly, companies are trying to get the most bang for their buck. If you’re okay with an annual 2-4% raise, your employer could continue that pattern every year. While you probably shouldn’t make a big stink and complain to your employer about your current salary, there is plenty that you can do to prove you deserve a raise and actually get one.
Here’s how to make more money at your 9-5.
1. Know Your Worth
It’s hard to know what you want your salary to be if you don’t know what is realistic. Salaries depend on many metrics, including years of experience, where you’re working, what industry you work in, job title, location, and education. A lot of people have a salary in their head of what they would like to be paid, but unfortunately, that is often unrealistic.
Luckily, there are a few resources, like Glassdoor, Salary, and Payscale.com, that will allow you to search what people with similar backgrounds and jobs are making. This gives you a great starting point as to what you should be asking for as a realistic salary.
Another way to gain valuable knowledge about how much to ask for is to search current job openings in your field. What are other companies offering to pay for this position? Print off these resources and bring them with you when you have your official salary discussion with your boss.
2. Apply to Higher-Level Jobs Within Your Company
If you work for a large company, it might be time to consider looking into higher-level or management positions that will pay more.
Ask yourself if you’re ready to take the leap to apply. Maybe being a manager doesn’t fit with your career goals, and that’s okay. But many people become very content with their current position and stop pushing forward in their career. If you’ve been in the same position for years and years, you likely won’t ever get a huge pay increase.
3. Ask Your Boss for Input
Your boss should know you and your performance pretty well. Whether or not it’s your review time, ask to set up a meeting with your boss to discuss your career.
It can be intimidating to ask your boss what you can do better, but your boss will appreciate the effort. By asking how you can improve, it shows your boss that you take your job and career seriously. Together, come up with a few areas to focus on improving in the next few months.
Doing this will also make your boss aware of how you are performing. When they see you working hard to improve what you two discussed, they will be more apt to discuss giving you a raise.
4. Keep a Running List of Accomplishments
This is one of my favorite tools to use while asking for a raise. During the year, write down everything you accomplish, no matter how small. By keeping record of your achievements, you have something tangible to bring to your salary discussion. Likely, your boss had no idea how much you did in a day’s time.
This doesn’t have to be tedious record keeping. Hopefully at work, you start your day by creating some sort of list of what your goals are for the day. Either write this down in a planner, notebook, or online task list (I just use the task tool in Microsoft Outlook and it automatically keeps track for me).
5. Gain New Skills, Knowledge, and Credits
Are there new skills you could learn to take your job to the next level? Are you as up-to-date as you should be?
No matter what field you work in, you should be committed to continually developing yourself and your knowledge and skill set. So whether you decide to take a class, study for a certification, or even just reading books about your field, let your boss know that you are committed to advancing yourself.
6. Ask for More Work
One of the best ways to get a raise is to actually do more work. By asking for more work, you increase your value to your employer.
Think about if you hired someone to work for you. You likely wouldn’t be super willing to give them a big raise if they were just doing the same thing year after year. But if your employee was actually doing more work, it would be worth it to you to pay them more. And if that employee left, you’d have a hard time finding someone to replace them who could accomplish everything that your former employee did, and you’d get less bang for your buck.
Employers do not like to replace employees (unless they clearly are poor performers), and are usually willing to pay you more to keep you happy. But you have to justify why you should be paid more. By doing more work, your employer is much more inclined to pay you a higher salary.
So ask your boss if there is a project or task you can help with. Even if it’s small, you will have become much more valuable to your boss by taking some work off their plate.
7. Network, Network, Network
Sometimes, you just have to know the right people to get that raise.
Some people tend to get very offended when anyone suggests that you network for a raise. They say that whether you get a raise should depend only on your performance. While I understand where they are coming from, we all are on equal starting ground when it comes to networking. I say, network, but also work hard to back it up. Like they say, don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk.
It never hurts to get involved in your organization and to know more people. People are a huge asset to your career, and to deny that would be writing off a valuable resource.
8. Ask for It!
As much as you hope your employer will see your hard work and effort, you probably will still have to take the leap and ask for a raise.
Come prepared with documentation of your accomplishments, salary guides, and don’t forget to practice!
Many people will do all of the steps BUT ask for a raise. As much as you sit there hoping to be compensated fairly for your work, believe it or not, you are not your manager’s first responsibility. They have a full-time job too and probably don’t give your salary much thought at all. Or, they would just assume you’re content with your pay until you bring it up.
Asking for a raise doesn’t make you a bad employee. In fact, it will likely open your employer’s eyes to how valuable you are to them.
9. Refuse to Become Negative
Remember, you still might have to negotiate a raise. Your employer might not have the means to give you a raise now, or there may be some other circumstance that prevents you from getting what you want.
No matter what happens, refuse to become negative about your job. Keep your head down and focused, because employers will notice if you start slipping and becoming negative. No one likes a complainer!
If there is no solution to be offered, or you were flat out denied a raise, maybe it’s time to consider looking at step 10…
10. Remember, You Can Always Look for Other Jobs
Sometimes the best way to earn more is to find another job. Your current job might NEVER be able to provide the amount of pay you are looking for or feel you deserve. It’s okay to switch fields or industries to find a higher paying job.
You should never feel stuck at your current salary. You can always make more money!
If you’re not ready to take the leap into a new job, you can always consider starting a side hustle, like blogging or freelance writing, in order to open new opportunities and gain new skills and give you purpose career-wise.