Your Career Resolutions: How to Score a Raise in 2013

How to ask for a raise

By Linda Descano, President and CEO, Citi’s Women & Co

It’s January – the perfect time to start thinking about career goals for the year ahead. With fresh starts in the new year in mind, Women & Co. recently polled members of Citi’s Connect: Professional Women’s Network on LinkedIn about their career resolutions for 2013. Setting aside the 39 percent who are looking for a new job, most women consider learning new career skills and building their professional networks their top two priorities this year. But with all of women’s focus on developing their career, one simple ask was missing from their goals for 2013: A raise. 

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Only 2 percent of the women polled on Connect consider asking for a raise a priority in 2013.  Are women afraid to ask for more because we’re afraid that we’ll be perceived as too demanding? Or are we reluctant to bring up the topic of a raise because of the challenging economic environment? Or perhaps we’re just hoping that we’ll receive the financial compensation that we deserve – and won’t have to speak up for it. 

Whatever the reason, if you think that you deserve a salary increase in 2013, we’ve compiled some of the best tips that we’ve heard on how to ask for more:

Don’t make your request an ultimatum.  

Don’t go in with a “take it or leave it” attitude and put your boss on the defense the minute you start the conversation. One Connect member told us in a recent post, “Good negotiators do not make ultimatums. They talk about their value to the company; ask a lot of questions and make an effort to find a way that both employer and employee can be better satisfied.”

Dress the part.

You want to exude confidence, and what you wear contributes to how you feel. Take a cue from what other senior-level executives in your company are wearing in positions one or two up from where you want to be. Is there a color that makes you feel like a million bucks? Incorporate it into your raise-day wardrobe in some way, even if it’s just a small accessory, like a scarf. For more tips on what to wear, check out Asking for a Raise? How to Dress on

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Put yourself in your boss’s shoes.

Carol Frohlinger, J.D., Co-founder, Negotiating Women, Inc., told Women & Co. in a recent article, “Even if your boss is your biggest fan and believes you deserve a raise, chances are he or she will be facing some constraints, limitations, and/or parameters. Figure out what they are, and then identify smart, creative ways to rise above them.” If you’re lobbying for a raise for yourself or other people you manage, you might want to demonstrate how you and your team can work more cost-effectively to free up more money in the budget for compensation, for example. 


Think about what your boss might say in response to your request. How will you answer? If a raise is off the table, you might want to ask about alternative forms of compensation, like professional training or a one-time bonus. If your boss asks you how much you want, what will you say? The more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be.

Have you successfully negotiated a salary increase recently? Tell us how by joining the discussion on Connect.

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Linda Descano is President and CEO of Women & Co., a service of Citi that is dedicated to helping women strengthen their financial futures. She also serves as a Managing Director and Head of Digital Partnerships for North America Marketing at Citi. A recognized expert on the topic of personal finance, Linda’s tips and commentary have appeared in countless publications including Huffington Post, Reuters, Fox Business, US News, American Banker and MSN Money to name a few.

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