pay rise

How I Got a $9k Pay Raise

Money is tight for around 99% of the population of the world, so it makes sense to work out how we can reduce our expenditures and increase our income.

I can’t help much with your outgoings as there are many books and money-saving tips out there already, but I can help you get a pay increase in your IT job if you have one. I did it several times at various companies over the years. It’s a tried and tested formula that I know works, but you have to put some effort in, of course.

Step 1 – Certification

You must be qualified with a relevant skill for the job you want a pay raise for. I know this is obvious, but if you are a project manager, then passing an SQL certification exam won’t help you.

When I was working on a helpdesk support desktop software and Windows, I passed the Microsoft and Cisco exams. That covered the operating systems and networking issues even though I was only dealing with basic networking issues such as faulty network cards.

Passing a certification exam shows determination and taking responsibility for your career development. Most of the people I meet will put zero effort into this unless their company is paying for it. They want to be sent on courses and provided with study guides and any online training. If you can find a company to do this now, you are lucky, to say the least.

I did find, however, that companies will refund the cost of study guides and exam fees if you pass and if they are relevant to your job so it’s worth asking the HR department about this.

Step 2 – Projects

The more valuable you are to the company, the more likely they are to reward you and the more they will fear you leaving.

If you have started to take on projects on your own initiative then you deserve to be paid more. The first few projects or weeks of extra work you will probably have to do for free but after this you have a case for a pay increase. I prefer to start taking on small projects my boss hates doing. Once they are free of the extra work they won’t want to have to take it back again I guarantee.

If you can pass entry-level project management exams like the CAPM certification then all the better.

Step 3 – Ask!

Some companies have yearly performance reviews but this is a long time to wait for a pay increase.

As soon as you have passed a new certification exam arrange a meeting with your manager or the appropriate person and make your case for your pay rise. You do need to speak to the person who can decide if you get it or not. If your line manager has no authority to do this then it’s pointless for you to negotiate with them or leave them to make a case on your behalf.

There is no need to become emotional about the process. Make your case with reasons why you are saving the company money by taking on more work or making them more money by fixing customer problems faster. If you can approximate a figure then all the better.

Leave the meeting with a firm yes or no or at least a fixed date by which they will revert to you. You should also have a plan B. The plan B is another job offer. Without this you have zero leverage. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told there is no money for a pay rise only to put my notice in and be told I can have more money. Often several thousand dollars more.

In Summary

I’ve used the above steps several times in several companies to get large jumps in salary.

Treat it like a small project and enjoy the process. If you do the work then you should be rewarded I’m sure you agree.

Lastly, I recommend you don’t mention your salary level to work colleagues. You may find they are making considerably less then you and it will cause issues for you and your managers if you let it slip.


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