Money & Career

How to ask for a raise

Career advice: O, The Oprah Magazine financial expert and TV host Suze Orman shares the secret to getting a pay raise

suze orman

The Suze Orman Show (CNBC.com)

Here’s the thing with us women: We tend to put ourselves ‘on sale’ by not asking for what we really want. We think one thing, yet say another. You go in to ask for a raise with the fear that maybe they won’t like you, and you care more about people liking you than getting paid what you’re worth.

The secret to getting a raise is to make those who you are dependent on for a paycheque dependent on you. Once they are, they will be very afraid to get rid of you — at all costs. I know a woman who got her first job as an assistant at Kenneth Cole for $28,000 a year. She made herself indispensable, and seven years later, she’s making $175,000 a year. Bingo, people! She has hit the big time.

Before you discuss money, get your facts in order. You can’t just ask for a raise because you want one, or because you’ve worked somewhere for a year or two. You don’t ask because of that. You ask because you feel undervalued and know in your heart you’re worth more.

Write out exactly why you deserve it: What have you done for the company, for profits? Be aware of everything you have done over the past six months, year or two years, document it, and present it to them.

Next, and this is important: Do not ask people, tell them. You say, “Based on the commitment that I have to this company, and everything I have done, I want a 10- or 15-percent raise. Which are you willing to give me?” Now you have just turned the tables with that question. It takes a hard person to say no to that. Remember, you are not on sale. You are a powerful woman. You have the right to say, “This is what I need, this is what I want, and this is why.”

Suze Orman is a personal-finance expert, host of The Suze OrmanShow and a contributing editor to O, The Oprah Magazine.