Raise the Bar: Asking for a Salary Increase Despite the Tight Economy

Asking for a RaiseAsking for a raise can be tricky — and career damaging at the same time. One mistake can sabotage your great dream of climbing up the ladder of legal profession success. A common misconception when negotiating a higher salary is that it is possible only if the economy is going strong and steady.

The truth is, paralegals can ask for a raise regardless of the state of the economy. In fact, you should definitely think about this particular career move if it has been years since your last appraisal.

What’s Your Worth?

Know your worth when preparing for the talk. You have to prove to the firm’s lawyers that you are an asset — that the firm will not operate as efficiently if ever you decide to leave.

Highlight your skills; demonstrate that you have gone through trainings and continued your legal education during negotiations. These things prove that you are committed to improving yourself, which is the kind of attitude lawyers want.

Make it a priority to develop your knowledge and skills further. There are accredited paralegal programs online you can take while doing your job; they provide a more flexible schedule and arrangement that will allow you to prioritize both education and career.

Another way to prove your worth is to contemplate on recent situations that showed you deserve more than what you are getting. For instance, if you helped the firm find new clients and keep valuable ones, or if the firm was able to save money and time because of the practices you introduced or facilitated. As you think about these things, refer to messages from colleagues and employers recognizing your contributions.

Do You Have a Strong Case?

Just like in a court trial, think about possible questions and prepare your answers. Jot them down, along with “evidence” to support your claims. Other than highlighting your worth, present a correct estimate of the amount you want for the raise.

Research is the secret to meeting your goals. Know the current salary range for your position and hiring trends in the market. You are more like to convince an employer by proving that your salary is below standards. Present this data, along with other supporting information.

It’s possible to ask for a raise despite the not-so-merciful economy. The key is preparation. Do your research and practice highlighting your skills.