How to Ask for a Promotion or Raise

I originally wrote this piece to appear in a newsletter for the Girls Empowerment Network March 2017 Issue. I received tons of positive feedback so I made some slight modifications and decided to share it with my readers.

Being a young(ish), aspiring woman in the workplace can have its share of challenges. Serving in a leadership role in a male dominated field is even more difficult.

I will not even mention the fact that the melanin runs deep within my soul. However, I remain committed because I know my worth and the value I bring to my organization (or any organization). After four years on the job in the same role (but with more responsibilities and meager 3% increases) I decided to ask for a promotion and the accompanying raise. You might be wondering "How Sway?"

Here are 4 easy ways to ask for a promotion or raise: 

1.    Keep stats

Over the past four years every quarter I would write a list of accomplishments on my “brag sheet”. I would list challenging projects that I completed and how they contributed to the organization’s mission including new partnerships that were formed and the return on investment. By carving out time to complete this four times a year I make sure I don’t forget anything. We keep track of Serena Williams Grand Slam titles; it's also important that we’re noting what we’re doing as well.  

2.    Research.

I would suggest spending time researching the job descriptions of the new role you envision for yourself. Different organizations may have job responsibilities listed on their websites. You can also take some of that verbiage and tie it into what you are already doing or aspire to do. This makes it easier to articulate that you are ready for what’s next. I suggest crafting a new job description to share during the meeting when you make the formal ask. 

3.    Make the ask.

After you are armed with your statistics and industry trends you should set up an appointment with your supervisor to make the ask. Be sure to inform him/her on the subject of the meeting beforehand. This way that person making the decision isn't blindsided by your ask. Share your "brag sheet" and new job description. A brag sheet is simply a list of your quantifiable accomplishments.  It's pretty much like your wingman. When you make the ask be firm in your request. Use powerful words! Don't use words that leave reasons for doubt. Once you make the ask (your anxiety will go away I pinky swear) remain silent. Let your supervisor speak. He/she always has something to say anyway, right?

4.    Follow up.

Depending on how the meeting goes; chances are your supervisor will need some time to speak to other vested stakeholders about capacity and/ or the budget. Set a date to follow up on the discussion prior to leaving the meeting. Find out if there is something that you can do to assist that person in their decision-making. Do not tell too much time lapse. In the next follow- up visit, you should leave with a decision. If the answer is “yes” file the necessary paperwork immediately. If the answer is “no” find out what skills could make you a stronger and or professional development opportunities that are available within the company to get you to that next level. Don't be discouraged; you rock

I believe this process is simple and can be utilized for almost any pitch within your career. Practice makes perfect. Test this formula on friends and family to get their perspective. Remember--your supervisor is responsible for your job within the company but you are ultimately responsible for your career. (Read that sentence again please!) You should always do what's in your best interest and be unapologetic about it. Now go ask for that promotion and/or raise! And remember...."Always stay gracious. The best revenge is your paper." 

-Ar'Sheill Monsanto