Raising possibilities to get a raise

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Raising possibilities to get a raise

You've been pulling 12-hour days for months. You work weekends. You've been faithful to the firm for years. You put on a good face when times are rough. You deserve a raise.

Don't go to your boss with a proposal just yet. Before you ask for a promotion or a raise, do your homework. Planning is the key. You might hit gold or you might be escorted out the door.

There's an old saying along the lines of: "You're paid what you can negotiate, not what you're worth." That's why a peer holding the same position may be earning more.

Anne Fisher, the career columnist at Fortune magazine, says that if you can make a strong case for your deserving more money, then you should ask. Maybe you just signed on a major client. Maybe you started a cost-saving plan a year ago, and the the benefits are now on the bottom line. If you don't market yourself, who will?

Many bosses enjoy being approached by assertive employees. "I want to keep and promote anybody who can change my mind," says Pierre Cohen-Aknine, founder and president of PCA Limited, a Korean import/export company.

Does it hurt to ask? Mr. Cohen-Aknine adds, "If I don't promote somebody, then I fire the person. Or the person leaves by himself or herself."

Sam Butler, a career specialist at DBM Korea, says that whenever you ask for a promotion or salary increase, "you must be able to show you deserve it and that it's beneficial to the company."

People who think that hard work is enough to earn a promotion are mistaken. It takes dedication to the organization, understanding the needs of the key players and offering ideas that will make these people look better, according to Mr. Butler. For a small business, it takes clear vision, maximizing potential and social abilities, says Mr. Cohen-Aknine.

Some people don't ask about promotions because of a country's or office's culture. "In Europe, it's uncommon to ask for a promotion unless the job scope has changed and a promotion is expected," says Peter Ziegler, president of Panalpina Korea, a supply chain management firm.

Sometimes you have to find a job at another company to get a raise. Brett Nichols, the director and executive vice president of East Marketing Group in Seoul, has switched jobs to boost his salary. He says younger workers are more willing to switch jobs for better position and pay than older workers. "Nowadays, people tend to jump around a lot. Three or four years is a long time to stay with the same company."

A local travel writer says writers sometimes hit the top of the pay scale at their companies and choose freelancing over asking for a raise.

If you've decided to ask for a raise or a promotion, here are some tips to prove your point:

- Know what traits your company values and what will earn your supervisor's respect. List your qualities and memorize them.

- Keep an office log. That way, you can document your achievements.

- Keep a copy of complimentary letters.

- Record your overtime.

- Time your pitch. Make it after good quarterly earnings are announced, or when it fits your company's review schedule. "Some companies have polices that dictate specific raises at certain times," says Therese Droste, a career specialist for www.msn.com.

- Prove your worth constantly, not when you want a promotion, Mr. Butler advises. Your boss is constantly judging your contributions and your potential.

- Know your worth. Check employment agency Web sites to see what someone in your position should be earning. Talk to employment recruiters. Look up job listings. Network with colleagues.

- Have a salary range in mind. Be prepared to negotiate other items, such as additional vacation or personal leave days, to offset a raise that is less than you want. Other perks include educational benefits and stock options.

- If the raise is less than what you expected, take a couple days to think it through. Be reasonable in your counteroffer.

Remember, you're paid what you negotiate, not what you're worth.

by Joe Yong-hee
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