It’s always important to know your own worth at your company ― and nothing speaks louder than the numbers on your paycheck.
Of course, benefits are crucial and office perks are nice, but a terrible salary is hard to ignore.
While switching jobs can bring a big salary bump, don’t underestimate the impact that salary negotiations can have when you do want to stay at your company.
There are key moments when it’s particularly advantageous to leverage your position and ask for a raise.
Here are five situations that, when they arise, you know it’s time to speak up:
1. People are leaving the company
When your department shrinks, that’s the first sign that there’s an opportunity to ask for a raise, career experts say. After all, vacancies inevitably mean that other people are left to pick up the extra work.
Always be prepared when you’re going to the negotiating table, says Vicki Salemi, a career expert for Monster. That means being able to justify why you deserve a raise: have a bullet list of your new duties and the additional time those duties have taken.
“Ask yourself, ‘Am I working two hours late?’ ‘Am I spending more time reading emails on my commute when I used to read a book?’” Salemi said.
Once you meet with your manager, explain the extra work on your plate and express your wish for a raise in order to know that you’re being valued for the work.
And don’t forget to follow up. Ask your manager when you can expect a decision.
“You need to be your own advocate,” Salemi said. “Push it forward, say you’ll follow up in two weeks.”
2. You’re taking on more projects
Maybe you find yourself gradually leading a small team. Maybe you’re conducting new weekly meetings. If nothing is changing in your compensation, it’s a good time to talk to your boss.
“If you’re doing everything that looks like what a manager does, you don’t just want the title,” Salemi said. “You want the raise.”
Talk to mentors or friends in the industry to get a sense of the range for someone with your experience and responsibilities, Salemi says. Then use that to propose a ballpark figure for your new salary.
3. You’re being asked to train people
If you find yourself being repeatedly asked to train additional employees, that’s a sign of trust from your managers. It’s also a sign that you’ve received more responsibilities without being compensated for it.
“If you’re constantly tapped to provide training to other departments, that’d be a good sign they’re valuing you,” said Hannah Morgan, a job search strategist and founder of CareerSherpa.net. “It’s a good time to talk about additional compensation.”
4. It’s salary review time
The average annual pay bump is 2.9 percent, according to a report from consulting firm Mercer. If you think you’ve gone beyond expectations in a certain year, be proactive about it.
“They might tell you there aren’t any salary increases, so ask when they foresee the next increases,” Salemi said. “Or if you were promised a raise earlier and you still didn’t get it, ask.”
5. You’re taking classes to get advanced certification
Maybe you’re taking night classes or getting a master’s in your line of work. If your degree ultimately increases your skill set and what you can bring to your company, then that’s a reason to bring up the possibility of a raise.
“Often students don’t have that conversation beforehand, get that degree and don’t get an opportunity to make more money,” Morgan said.