One of the most important tips for successfully asking for a raise is to time your request during your annual performance review. But you can’t just twiddle your thumbs and wait for your boss to fill up the forms—especially if your boss isn’t the type who’ll automatically give you credit for all that you do.
Here are some ways to grab the bull by the horns and makes sure that the annual performance review correctly reflects all that you do.
Compile the compliments
Whenever you get those great emails from happy clients, or a pat on the back from a supervisor or someone else in the company, print them out and place in a folder. Don’t just send this folder over to personnel, either—they can lose it or forget to give it to your boss during the performance appraisal. ‘I know you’ve got a lot of work on your hands. Let me compile it for you as they appear, and give it to him myself.’
Get the schedule of your performance review
Does your company do performance reviews en masse, at the end of the year, or on the anniversary of your hire date? Ask human resources for the schedule. Then, give the folder to your boss about a month before the deadline of submission for reviews.
Choose an easy-to-read format
Your boss doesn’t have time to wade through a thick stack of messy printouts. Try to simplify it for him, by placing in a clear folder or ring binder, and using a highlighter to lead him right to the most important paragraphs.
And, most importantly, add a cover letter that thanks your boss for the guidance and support he has given, which has played a huge role in your performance. Mention some concrete things that you appreciate about your collaboration: ‘I appreciate the concrete feedback after each project, which helps me know where I can improve.’ Or, if your boss is a jerk, at least praise the company: ‘I have enjoyed the projects that were assigned to me, and am happy to be part of a company that serves such a diverse set of clients.’
You can also include a summary of your contributions to the company or personal achievements. This can include tasks you have done over and brought in profits or sales.
Be open to negative feedback
It’s hard to hear, but one of the qualities of highly successful people is the ability to take constructive criticism. Hear your boss out but end on a positive note by telling him how you will avoid a repetition of past mistakes or even some steps you have taken to correct it. If you feel the criticism is unfair, answer in a respectful and non-defensive way: ‘I understand why you may have seen it that way, though my intention was to ________. Moving forward, though, I will take steps to avoid miscommunication.’
This is a great time to ask your boss for anything that may help improve your performance, from tools like a new software, or manpower resources like an assistant who can help handle some tasks so you can focus on others. You can also request for subscriptions to industry publications, seminars, and other ways to improve your skills.