The Smart Gal's Guide to getting a raise in a recession

Everybody wants one. But talking money at work can be tricky these days as more companies downsize and so many are arguably relieved just to have jobs. But that need not stop you from asking for what you've earned. Exercise common sense-you may need to bide your time a bit longer if your firm is currently doling out pink slips. But if the outlook seems stable, consider these guidelines before making your case.

1. Have your back-up ready.
Come prepared with a memo that details your accomplishments, from tangible scores (that big deal you nailed) to the immeasurable contributions (you mentor junior associates). Use examples to demonstrate that you've taken on more responsibility within the company. Keep the memo short (no PowerPoint presentations!)-no more than a page, two max. Leave a copy with your boss, so he's got all the information at the ready when considering your request.

2. Do not threaten to quit.
Keep your inner brat in check. If your boss balks at your request for more money, do not (I repeat, do not) take it personally. Begging, threatening to quit, crying or anything equally childish is not a ringing endorsement for you or how much you value the company. (And he might take you up on your threat.) Don't resort to ratting out your lazy cubemates, either. Remember: your boss is watching to see how you handle setbacks.

3. No cash? What about perks? If the company is strapped for cash, switch gears and ask for other perks, like extra vacation days, tuition reimbursement for a job-related course, a bonus. While these may prove less gratifying than a raise, any of these are affirmations of your value-and a reminder to the firm of your commitment.

4. Leave with an answer. Your boss probably won't give you a yes or no answer on the spot. But don't settle for an "I'll get back to you," either. Leave with a follow-up plan in place. When will she get back to you? How long should you wait for the process to run its course before checking in? Not only will you get your answer, but your boss will take the request more seriously.

Click here for 3 more tips on asking for that raise.

By Jihan Thompson, Career and Money Blogger - Marie Claire

Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.

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