How to get the raise you deserve

13 Ways to Score a Bigger Raise

by Gary Foreman

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Everyone wants to get a raise and make more money, but employers are reluctant to give out big raises in this uncertain economy. A major consulting firm estimated that the median raise in 2013 was a meager 3%.

Does that mean that you're stuck with a small raise? Not necessarily. The smart employee will use some of these 13 tools to get a bigger raise.

Let management know you want to improve your position. They can't help you if they don't know what your goals are. Ask them if they'll work with you to create a personal development plan. You'll separate yourself from the pack by demonstrating a desire to move up the ladder.

Find ways to do more than your job requires. Many employees do just the bare minimum. Others look for ways to help their employer by going the extra mile. Smart bosses notice and remember.

Work on your communication skills. Whether you're learning about a new assignment or doing something routine with a co-worker, the ability to communicate well makes you more valuable as an employee. Practice your listening, speaking, and writing skills.

Define what skills you'll need to advance. Ask your boss what talents you'd need for a promotion. Will you need additional training or certifications? Begin to get whatever skills are required.

Get along with co-workers. It's tempting to view co-workers as competitors for promotions or plum assignments, but most managers don't want to spend time dealing with personality conflicts. A reputation for getting along with co-workers is an asset.

Anticipate technical changes in your job. New tools and methods are changing many jobs. Some workers resist change. Be the employee who knows about job changes and has prepared themselves to take advantage of those tools and methods.

Anticipate changes in your workplace. Many companies are adjusting job requirements and workforces to keep pace with the new economy. Some jobs are combined and others are eliminated. Your job may be evolving. Anticipate your employer's moves. Change is not always a negative. Put yourself in a position to benefit from the changes.

Join a professional society. Many trades and professions have an association or society for people who work in the field. They offer conferences, online courses, and professional journals. Ask your employer if they'll pay for membership. Many do.

Read about your trade or profession. Make a point of reading articles, books, and journals in your field. Visit websites that cover topics of interest to your peers. Become the "go to" person for new ideas.

Keep in touch with people working similar jobs in other firms. is an excellent place to contact and learn from others in your field. It's also a great way to find out about job opportunities outside of your company.

Learn other jobs in the company. Take every opportunity to learn about other tasks and responsibilities within your company, even if you don't get extra pay. Volunteer to fill in when someone is sick or on vacation. Not only will you demonstrate a willingness to learn new skills, but also you'll show your ability to do so.

Continue your education. The explosion of community colleges and online education has made it easy to learn new skills. All you need is time and willingness. If you're not sure what to study, ask your boss what skills/tools would make you more valuable.

Seek out creative criticism. Ask your employer how you can improve your performance. Your boss will appreciate the fact that you want to be a better employee. You'll hear about things that can be corrected now rather than negatively affecting your next performance review and raise.

There's no guarantee that these 13 tools will get you a big raise. Some companies and professions are trapped in a downward spiral. If so, it may be time for a career change, but if your employer is going to be handing out raises, you want to be the person getting the biggest one!

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Gary Foreman

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar website and newsletters in 1996. He's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money and Gary shares his philosophy of money here. You can follow Gary on Twitter or visit Gary Foreman on Google+. Gary is also available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.

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