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(MCT)—Asking for a raise in a weak economy may seem like a long shot. Or maybe even job suicide. But experts say that if you’re valued by your employer and carefully present your request, a pay increase is sometimes possible. Some tips:

• Rehearse: Find a friend to portray your boss and try out what you plan to say. “Practice a tone that sounds friendly and assertive rather than bitter and entitled,” recommended Alexandra Levit, author of “Success for Hire.”

• Find the right time: Meet with your boss when he or she is not overly busy or distracted. “Avoid scheduling the meeting to ask for a raise as the last meeting of the day because your boss will be more focused on leaving than on considering your request,” said Ian Newton in the book “How to Get Ahead at Work.”

• Outline your strengths: Use specific examples to show why you’re an asset to the company. “Focus on the benefits your boss and the company receive from your contributions, rather than the additional money you need or desire,” Levit said.

• Consider other benefits: “If your boss is leery of giving you a salary raise, perhaps he or she will be open to giving you more vacation time, or flex time, or perhaps a bigger office or an assistant,” Newton said.

• Plan B: If you can’t get a raise immediately, see whether you can get one in the future contingent on accomplishing specific goals. “Ask your manager what you need to do to receive a raise and if it’s possible to revisit the issue in the near future,” Levit advised.

©2012 the Los Angeles Times
Distributed by MCT Information Services.