how to get noticed - for the right reasons

"Nice Girls Don't Ask" observes the phenomena of men asking for what they want and women not. Working hard and hoping you'll get noticed is for weenies. Supergirls get noticed, ask for a raise and justify their request.

There are two tactics for getting noticed. First, talk to your manager or coach. Talk to their boss. Keep it professional and get to know the people that will be your advocate when it's time to decide who receives a raise or bonus. Second, track your successes and share them with your boss. You're not bragging, you're informing. This is the sticking point alluded to in "Nice Girls Don't Ask". Men don't share the stigma women have of letting people know their successes. Men tell their boss they got a fabulous client or saved the firm a bunch of money.

People who don't "toot their own horns" are destined to be overlooked. You don't have to be in your boss' face. If your boss is formal and likes processes a quarterly meeting would be appropriate. A quick email may suffice for a casual boss. If you're not sure, ask! "Boss, I'd like to keep you updated on my successes without burdening you. Would you prefer to schedule a regular meeting or should I send you an email periodically?" Your boss will notice you are being considerate of their time. Keep a record of your wins. Brief so you continue to update yourself. The date and a sentence or two should be enough, "10/2/2009; Ordered 20,000 sheets of letterhead instead of 2,000. Will save company $5,000 over one year." This will come in handy at review time or when you are dusting off your resume.

How you communicate to your boss is a means to an end. The goal is to make a business case for why you deserve a raise. Know your facts. Find out what comparable positions earn in your area. Have a conversation with your boss, not a debate. Refrain from bringing up financial hardships, your personal life is outside the business case. Likewise, don't mention leaving the company if you don't get the raise. If you do bring the subject up be fully prepared to act on the threat.

All of your preparation is for nothing if you don't ask for the raise. Ask your boss for a meeting to discuss your salary when s/he is calm. You don't want to start off on the wrong foot by bringing the subject up when your boss is dealing with an emergency. Once in the meeting maintain a professional demeanor. If your boss cites budget restrictions, offer alternatives to a monetary raise. Be creative with other perks you would accept in lieu of money such as a monthly bus pass or your dry cleaning being paid for. If this is a company you enjoy working for don't let a refusal bring you down. Ask your boss what would justify a raise or a promotion - then get yourself noticed for all the right reasons.

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