Salary MeetingThe recession may be over according to the experts, but many of us still feel the pinch of recession, and many companies are still acting as though there is a recession on. Getting a pay raise may be difficult at this time, but it is possible. You may have to get a little creative, you may have to be willing to work a little harder. But there are still raises to be had.

Here are 6 tips for getting a raise during a recession:

1. Separate Yourself from the Crowd

First of all, you need to be noticed. In a good way. Separate yourself from your coworkers by your professionalism, work ethic or good ideas. Work hard to build a reputation at your work, so that your boss — and your boss’s bosses — know who you are, and respect you. Before you ask for a raise, you need to lay the groundwork.

2. Research Your Position

Think about what you do for your company, and do some research on average salaries for your position. Know what others are being paid for similar work, and what others are being paid for work that includes a little more responsibility. That way, you can come to any sort of payment review meeting armed with information showing what you should be making, even if there is a recession on.

3. Work Smarter

Yes, you need to show that you are a hard worker. But you should also work smarter. Find out what sorts of goals management has, and tailor your work responsibilities to be in line with helping accomplish those goals. When you go above and beyond, make sure that what you do helps the company achieve its benchmarks. Look for and suggest ideas that can help the entire company work smarter.

4. Show How Your Raise is a Win-Win

You will need to demonstrate that you deserve a raise, and that a raise is a win-win situation. If you have laid proper groundwork, and gone above your job requirements in helping management reach its goals, you can point out that a higher salary will encourage you to take on even more responsibility, and perform at an even higher level. You can also ask your boss what you need to do in order to reach a level of performance that would justify a pay raise.

5. Consider Perks Instead of An Actual Raise

In some cases, it is easier for companies to offer perks, rather than outright cash in the form of a raise. Think about alternatives to a raise, such as additional paid vacation days, or tuition reimbursement for training that enhances your job performance. If your job is something you could do from home some of the time, you might ask if you can telecommute two or three days a week, instead of coming in to the office every day. You might have to be creative about what you want, and remember that sometimes perks can provide more quality of life than a higher salary.

6. Set Up a Formal Meeting

Instead of just walking in on your boss unannounced and dropping the raise thing, ask for a meeting. Schedule a specific meeting time, and ask for half an hour or so. Practice your presentation, and make sure to bring documentation for back-up. Make sure you are informed and confident. If, during the meeting, your boss tells you that s/he can’t give a raise at this time, ask if you can meet in another six months for a performance and salary review.

In the end, you need to show that a raise is justified. You can threaten to quit, but that might not help, especially in the current job market. You have to be prepared to quit if you make that threat, so make sure you have an emergency fund that can handle your job search.

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