You know you're lucky to have a job at all in this economy, but you truly feel that you deserve more. What to do? Prove what you're worth.
Step 1: Know your company's financial health Know your company's financial health. If it's robust, the recession should have no bearing on whether or not you should get an increase.
Step 2: Ask for a promotion If your company has instituted a salary freeze, see if you can justify asking for a promotion; they are often exempt from the no-raises policy.
Step 3: Time it Ask for a raise right after you've done something valuable. If you wait for your review period, the glow of your triumph may have faded.
Step 4: Justify it Explain exactly why you deserve more money. That's often easy to do during a recession, when layoffs mean that employees who were retained have taken on the work of those who were let go.
TIP: Keep a written record of all your achievements so you can build a good case when it comes time to ask for a salary increase.
Step 5: Be nice Ask with confidence, but ask nicely. Come across as enthusiastic about the company, not resentful.
Step 6: Ask for a consolation prize If more money is completely out of the question, ask for some other kind of compensation, like more vacation time, stock options, or the ability to work from home. Or consider asking for a better title; it could help you land a higher-paying job when the economy recovers.
FACT: Wednesday is the best day to ask for a raise, according to one survey of managers.