If you’re a sales person who has exceeded sales goals multiple times, a customer service agent who always has to handle the “difficult” calls, or someone who is just killing it at your job, it may be time to ask for a raise.
“But how do I do that?”
If a pit forms in your stomach at the thought of this type of conversation and you just don’t know how to get up the courage to ask your boss that awkward question, perhaps it’s time for you to take a look at your strengths.
Do You Know What Your Personal Brand Is?
A personal brand is how you present yourself to your world; it is the expression of the unique collection of qualities and experiences that make up who you are as a person and what you have to offer your world. Actively managing your personal brand, being purposeful in refining and expressing your personal brand to others will help put you on the path toward success and help prepare you for a conversation about money, title, and increased responsibilities.
One of the major elements of strong personal branding is confidence. You have express your brand with confidence, and one great way to make sure that you do that is to make sure that you’re clear about what your personal brand is and what value it brings. When you understand your personal brand, you will be more aware of the value that you bring to your coworkers, projects and the results you produce in your company.
Build Your Personal Brand To Build Your Confidence
True, gut level confidence is an important quality to have for these types of hard conversations. If you were talking with your supervisor about potentially getting a raise and he or she asks you why they should give it to you, understanding your brand will strengthen your resolve and ensure you have answers to these challenging questions right at the tip of your tongue.
One way to clarify your personal brand to yourself is to write down the qualities that you think are most important for the position you would like to have. Then, identify examples of when you have expressed those qualities. Figure out what qualities are important for the job you were applying for. [Note: this technique can also be helpful when applying for other jobs and going through the interview process with the hiring manager.]
Ask yourself, if you were the hiring manager, what qualities would you be looking for in an employee? Write those down! Next, find examples from your own past opportunities and work that you have done that shows these desired qualities in action.
Have Concrete Examples
The process of writing these examples out will build your confidence and help you to be firm in the conversation with your boss or potential employer that you really do have those qualities. Writing out stories that show tangible, concrete examples strengthens your own understanding of your value and will cause you to come across as more confident because you will have already thought through and have those stories at the ready. You’ll be more prepared for the challenging questions that may arise. When you have evidence to back up why you deserve the raise, you come across as more confident, convincing, and strong.
How To Tell Your Personal Branding Stories
When you’re describing your success story, briefly summarize the business Situation or background and as a part of that, explain what Obstacle needed to be overcome or what the Opportunity was. Then describe the Actions Taken and what Result came of those actions. The last step is to circle back to make your point by answering the question, “So What?”
Here’s an example of what you might say to your boss, Kate to show one of your strengths:
“Kate, I’m sure it’s important for you to have team leaders who take initiative and don’t just wait around to be told what to do. Do you remember last quarter when we were very concerned about whether we would make our sales goal or not (Situation)? We were concerned because we had lost our biggest customer (Obstacle), so I redoubled my cold-calling efforts (Action) and was able to find three really good prospects that will more than make up for that one client lost (Result). I was happy to contribute in this way and believe that I set an example for the whole team (So What).”
Be Your Own Best Advocate
No one knows you better than you. That’s why it’s imperative to be your own advocate. By spending some time to make sure you are clear about your personal brand (who you are and what you have to offer), you’ll be better prepared to articulate to others what contributions you have to make and why you deserve to be properly compensated for the value that you bring. You’ll also feel more confident about the discussion.
Think through a few specific stories that exemplify the unique qualities you bring to your work world and then just go for it! Broaching the subject may be scary at first, but you may bring a perspective that your boss had not thought about. You aren’t just asking on a whim; you have taken the time to think specifically about what you deserve and what value you are adding to the company.
Here’s to your branding success!