Among America’s 10 most popular professions, only our nation’s registered nurses earn a reasonable living says a CNN article, as they make $68,000 per year on average.

More than likely, you are not getting paid what you deserve.  You can work harder and hope your boss notices, move on to another job, or try to negotiate an increase.

If you’re going to attempt to do the last one, make sure you follow these tips to give yourself the best chance of landing it:

  1. Get a written offer from another employer – The best negotiating tool is concrete written evidence.  If you can show a written offer from one or multiple other employers that’s higher than your current offer, you give yourself a great chance of getting that salary increase.
  2. Know how your performance stacks up versus the expectation – If you can concretely measure your performance against objective criteria set by your company, and if that performance exceeds the expectation, then you have great leverage for negotiating a salary increase.
  3. Have a realistic, objective understanding of your value to the company – Does your manager or the business owner know full well that if you left, the company would experience a serious setback?  If it’s clear to your teammates and those in power that you are indispensable at your company, then you have a good chance of getting the raise.  It’s not effective, however, as  having a written offer from other companies.
  4. Take on challenging projects and offer to go the extra mile – Performance is always the best way to get a raise.  But, if you can’t find an objective way to measure your performance, instead work your hardest at making yourself the “go-to” employee.  If a challenging project arises, be the first to volunteer for it.  Always help your boss with tasks when he or she is overwhelmed with work.  This won’t guarantee a raise, but it will put you in a good position for asking for one later on down the line.
  5. Log your own performance – If there’s no objective way to measure your performance, keep your own log of the wins and value you’ve generated for your company.  Don’t fall into the trap of putting aside small wins – every little bit you contribute helps.
  6. Make a proposition to your manager – If you know you can most likely generate a certain outcome for your employer, make a proposal.  Tell them that if you generate that outcome, which you must outline very specifically, that you expect a certain pay raise or bonus.  That way, a win-win situation is created for both sides.

Enjoy the New Pay You Get!

In these tough times where American employees are on average not compensated what they’re worth, you have to take charge.  Any recruiting services worth their salt will tell you that.  By following these steps, you give yourself the best chance of getting a raise.