Get A Raise: 11 Do's And Don'ts For IT Pros - InformationWeek

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6/2/2015
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Kevin Casey
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Get A Raise: 11 Do's And Don'ts For IT Pros

Want to beef up your paycheck? There's more to it than asking for the money.
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(Image: Courtney Carmody via Flickr)

(Image: Courtney Carmody via Flickr)

What Are You Worth?

Even when you love your job, there's a bottom-line truth about work: Most of us are in it for the money.

Sure, if we're lucky we work in roles that offer more than the almighty paycheck: opportunities for personal growth, continued learning, helping other people, solving real-world problems, and the other big-picture things that can make jobs worth doing beyond financial reasons.

But, yeah, still: Most for-profit work comes down to money. Money might not be everything, but it's handy when you want to eat or pay rent, not to mention indulge your hobbies, side projects, and personal luxuries. Which is why "I got a raise!" -- after "I got the job!" -- might be the most the joyous phrase salaried and hourly workers can utter.

Getting a raise is easier said than done. Perhaps more than ever, convincing your employer that you're worth more tomorrow than you are today requires strategy, data, and good timing. Hoping, much less expecting, that your employer will magically decide to tack 20% onto your salary is a bit too optimistic for most business climates these days, especially in an IT environment where "do more with less" has become standard operating procedure.

"Don't just ask for a raise," said Hallie Yarger, recruiting director for tech recruiting firm Mondo. "Know that you deserve what you're asking for, show your boss why, and get them to agree that you deserve it."

There are smart ways and, um, not-so-smart ways to go about pursuing a salary increase in IT. To Yarger's point, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your odds. There are just as many "don'ts" that will sink them. That's what we're here for: With input from Yarger and from Kate Fairchild, recruiting manager in the IT practice at Addison Group, we've identified 10 dos and don'ts when it comes to getting a raise in IT.

The focus here is on earning a pay bump without leaving your current employer. You may have heard the career adage that the best way to increase your pay is to change companies. There's at least some anecdotal truth in that, but it's far from a guarantee. It can also steer you wrong if you play the counter-offer game and lose, just as ultimatums can backfire when asking for more money. Regardless, the intent here is to ensure you're properly rewarded by your current organization, rather than merely going for top dollar on the open market -- even if some of the guiding principles here will overlap those two scenarios.

Even when your skills and experience align well with the current "hot" fields in IT, a raise isn't a given. It's also relative: Maybe your background includes skills or experience so hard for hiring managers to find that you can walk into your boss' office and demand a raise right now. Good for you -- but how do you know you're asking for the right amount? Even elite talent can wear out its welcome with too many demands, too much re-negotiation, and too many headaches for the bosses. Again, strategy, data, and timing play a crucial role, even for the most sought-after skill sets.

Data, in particular, is worth spending an extra moment on: You that you're going to need information -- and the ability to use it wisely -- in order to command the right salary. "I'm a hard worker" is a nice sentiment that doesn't convey anything of value. Being able to explain, quantitatively and qualitatively, the business results of your hard work is crucial.

"Come to the table with your quantified contributions at the company," Fairchild said. "Demonstrate your value by detailing how your accomplishments ladder back to your manager’s goals or the company’s bottom line."

There are plenty of factors in whether you will or won't get a raise, including some beyond your control. Make sure you're minding the variables you can influence and giving yourself the best shot. Timing, for example, is a big deal. We'll kick off with a data-driven "do": Quantify your worth.

Read on for more about that, and 10 other dos and don'ts for earning a raise in IT.

Kevin Casey is a writer based in North Carolina who writes about technology for small and mid-size businesses. View Full Bio

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batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/9/2015 | 9:50:23 AM
Re: A Raise: If You have to ask ?
@Technocrati interesting to know... please do share... thanks...
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/9/2015 | 9:19:59 AM
Re: A Raise: If You have to ask ?
@Li Tan I could not agree more.... I would say you must to ask this days... as it up to you to ask... how I see it...
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/9/2015 | 9:18:18 AM
Re: A Raise: If You have to ask ?
@Technocrati, interesting observation... I could not agree more... I would say sad reality...
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
6/9/2015 | 9:16:19 AM
Re: A Raise: If You have to ask ?
@Ashu001, could not agree more, interesting to know....
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/8/2015 | 1:15:14 PM
Re: A Raise: If You have to ask ?
Technocrati,

I am really-really glad to hear that you also share my views on this crucial topic.

There are so many folks who/when I speak with them (and suggest this as a solution);they get really angry and upset(not to mention defensive) and say they have NO Spare time.

Just look at how much time they spend on Whatsapp/FB/Online Gaming and the whole true story plays out perfectly.

Its just a question of priorities ;Does the extra Money(you can earn) help make yourself atleast a little better?

If Yes,you will definitely figure a way out how to make things happen.

That is beyond everything else the Bottomline here.

Regards

Ashish.

 
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/8/2015 | 12:10:24 PM
Re: A Raise: If You have to ask ?

@Li  

I understand your point and I honestly don't think there is any harm in asking for a raise if you honestly feel you deserve one.   I am just jumping forward to the scenarios of not getting it or if one is received it makes little difference.

Companies like to use percentages to quote your raise - well after taxes this percentage increase will turn out to be "little to nothing" in real dollars - what you want is real growth in after tax income.  

I mentioned to this to a boss years ago when we were discussing my raise (after fours years of not having one) and she reacted like a blank sheet of paper.

But I needed to let her know - she was not pulling the wool over my eyes.  Now whether I could do anything about it was another story entirely.

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
6/8/2015 | 11:59:34 AM
Re: A Raise: If You have to ask ?

"....Is'nt it better instead to do something on your own in your spare-time as well as Down-time in your existing job and then get financially rewarded for it?? "

 

@Ashu001     You are absolutely right.  In a World where companies think and act like they are doing your a favor by employment, the question of asking for more ( when it is deserved) is really insulting when you think about it.   One should not have to ask for a raise - managers should see your efforts (and reward them).  

That is hard to do when most managers are worrying about their own career, which is often built like a House of Cards.   

 

This very real issue is why I am so glad you mentioned that you have to do something on your own - keep that job that you should be so thankful for but then create your own worth !  

Great advice to those out there who are caught in this endless cycle - which unfortunately is most of us.

But I for one am doing what you insightfully mention and urge others to wake up and do the same.

Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/8/2015 | 11:32:20 AM
Re: A Raise: If You have to ask ?
Li,

Most folks genuinely feel they deserve a raise(and I don't blame/disagree with their thought-process here).

just one wonders how many of them are able to put it clearly and in as articulate a manner as possible today.

For the rest of the folks (especially in today's hard-pressed/hard-up environment) its going to be a tough slog going forwards

Regards

Ashish.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
6/8/2015 | 11:23:48 AM
Re: A Raise: If You have to ask ?
Technocrati,

Your advice is well-taken.

But the Big question is even if you go in the market and find someone to offer you a job (with similar Perks,Benefits,etc) will the Raise be big enough to make the switch successfully?

This also raises the other issue of lack of stability(atleast initially) in your New Job as you once again strive to prove yourself all over again.

Is'nt it better instead to do something on your own in your spare-time as well as Down-time in your existing job and then get financially rewarded for it??

Personally that makes more sense to me.Does'nt it?

 
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
6/8/2015 | 11:00:17 AM
Re: A Raise: If You have to ask ?
I think at least you need to seek for the possibiliy by asking if a raise if possible. The prerequest is that you feel you are really qualified for an increase.
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