Patt Morrison for April 3, 2012

What’s the best way to negotiate for a raise?

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You know you need it. You definitely deserve it. So why is it so hard to ask for a raise?

You’re not alone. four out of ten American professionals get tongue-tied, have heart palpitations or break out in a sweat when it comes to asking for a raise.

"People are worried about rocking the boat and they think if they were to ask for more that would put their job security at risk," said career consultant Andrea Kay. "The point is that most reasonable employers aren't going to fire you just because you asked for more money. It really depends on how you do it. If you do it in an objective, non-emotional way."

According to a new survey by Linkedin.com, 35 percent of workers worldwide find pay negotiations stressful. Women compare the pay negotiation experience to a dance, and are generally less confident about asking than men, who liken it to a game of poker. Twenty-five percent of U.S. workers say they’ve never even raised the question.

Kay says that if you're going to attempt to negotiate a raise, make sure you can back up the reasons you deserve the raise with solid facts.

"I would make sure that you are building your case," she said. "Think through, step-by-step, with bulleted items saying 'Here's what I did to increase my value and to bring in more money for the company... Have the conversation in a very factual, objective, non-emotional way."

With unemployment at record levels, those who do have jobs may feel extra pressure not to make waves. Yet the cost of living continues to rise, while our paychecks struggle to keep up. Still, if you have certifiable reasons and facts to back up a case for a higher wage, there's no reason you shouldn't give it a shot.

"Organizational cultures that support open and honest transparent conversations always are going to flourish more than cultures that don't want to have a conversation about raises," said Dawn Hrdlica-Burke, vice president of people at Daxko, a software consulting company. "When you're coming in to talk to your employer or manager about a raise, you have to look at it as a strategic venture, not a tactical one. You have to bring in things and be prepared to sound credible."

WEIGH IN:

Have you thought about asking the boss for a bump in pay, but held off out of fear? What’s the best time – and the best way – to negotiate for a raise? How do you put your best foot forward to get what you feel you deserve?

Guest:

Andrea Kay , career consultant, syndicated columnist and author of "Work's a Bitch and Then You Make it Work"

Dawn Hrdlica-Burke, vice president of people at Daxko, a software and technology consulting company


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