01. Do the research
Find out the market value of your position. Ask colleagues and any contacts you have at other agencies. Check out the job ads and talk to recruitment consultants. Having a solid numbers-based argument makes it hard for your seniors to say no.
02. Timing is crucial
Time your request with a recent success. Maybe you worked on a successful pitch, or billed particularly highly. Whatever it is, cash in when your stock's high. And if you haven't had a good opportunity to shine, manufacture one with a self-initiated or voluntary new work project.
03. Focus on yourself
Say "I think I'm worth more", rather than, "You don't value me enough". The aim is to sell yourself as a valuable team member, not to criticise your seniors. Be careful with your wording, though - while there's nothing wrong with blowing your own trumpet once in a while, you don't want to come across as arrogant.
04. Give them a chance
Ask yourself the following question: what have I done to merit a pay rise in my boss' eyes - what have I done that's made them look good? You need to consider how your boss views your input to the company, and ask them to prove that they value you.
05. Don't be a jerk
Don't use threats or ultimatums. Most people don't respond well to aggressive behaviour, and threatening to leave unless you get a rise won't help your cause. At best it irks people; at worst you get told 'good luck' and shown the door.
06. Keep persisting
If your boss can't give you a pay rise in the near future, ask for the situation to be reviewed in a set number of months and under particular objectives. Keep the conversation alive and keep adding to the portfolio - and upping the internal PR ante.
Words: Tom Dennis
This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 223 - available now!
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Tell us your pay rise tales in the comments...