How to Get the Salary You Want (Even In This Economy)

The economy may be struggling, but you can still get the salary you deserve.

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Practice your pitch. You might feel foolish, but role playing is essential to closing the deal on a raise. Make sure to go outside your company when practicing your pitch for a salary increase, experts say, as office rumor mills could undermine your chances. "Talk with your spouse, your significant other, but don't role play with anyone at work," McIntyre says. "Go outside your industry and network with friends not related to your work and come up with different questions you might be asked."

While you want to be genuine when talking to your boss about a raise, McIntyre says rehearsing for potential questions and having quasi-prepared responses can help your image as a prepared employee who adds value to the company.

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Be upfront with your boss. Bosses hate being blindsided, McIntyre says, so make your intent to discuss compensation clear in an email prior to the meeting. Apart from giving your boss time to prepare and process your request, it also demonstrates confidence and leadership, McIntyre says.

Most of all, don't worry too much about asking for a raise. "The worst-case scenario is you come out with the same salary that you went in with," McIntyre says. "But it lets your boss know that this guy or gal is ambitious and they want to improve."

It also gives you a better sense about where you stand with the company. If you don't get what you want, it might be time to start putting feelers out for a new job. "If you're talented, have a strong work ethic, are loyal and have integrity, you're a valuable asset recession or not," McIntyre adds.

mhandley@usnews.com