The Smart Woman's Guide to Asking for a Raise

Photo: Robert TractenbergPhoto: Robert TractenbergBy Suze Orman

Women have a very bad habit of putting themselves on sale. But tough economic times mean there is little chance your employer will offer a sizable raise-no matter how terrific you are-unless you force the issue a bit. A few negotiating tips:

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Stand Tall in Your Truth
Be confident when you make your case for a raise. If you're tentative and apologetic, you're signaling ambivalence about your own worth.

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Make Those You Are Dependent on For a Paycheck Dependent on You
Sure, the person writing the check has leverage. But so do you. If you go above and beyond your job description and make yourself as close to indispensable as possible, don't you think that's going to affect how your manager responds when you ask for a raise?

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Present Options, Not a Question
Angela and I agreed that a raise from $2,500 a month to $3,000 a month would make a big financial difference. But I don't want her to start the negotiation by asking "Can I have a raise?" or "Can I have a raise to $3,000 a month?" Yes-or-no questions are too easily dismissed. The more tactical approach is to frame the conversation as an option between two alternatives. In Angela's case we decided that her framing should be along the lines of "I'd like to be hired full-time. If you will not provide health insurance, I want to be paid $3,500 a month. If you provide health insurance, I think I should be paid $3,000 a month. What are your thoughts?" That changes the entire dynamic of the negotiation.

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