Have you been thinking that you need to make more money for the job you are currently doing and want to ask for a raise? Maybe you aren't sure how to approach it or are to nervous about asking for it?
To prepare to ask for a raise, you need to do just that - Prepare! Start with your colleagues and see if you can find out what they are currently making by simply asking them. Approach it during happy hour one on one with them, particularly if you are close. Say something like, "You of course don't have to share but I am trying to see if I am being paid fairly. I am making xyz are you close to that too?" If they seem uncomfortable, don't press but it is worth a shot to ask. You should also look at sites like Glassdoor.com and Salary.com for your job title and similar job titles to see what similar jobs are paying in your area. Knowing this information will be essential in your justification for the raise.
Next you need to show that your work supports your raise query as well. What have you done over the past year that goes above and beyond? Have you made sales for the company or created a process improvement that has saved the company money? Detail those numbers out as part of your examples of why your employer needs to increase your salary. You can also include things like projects and committees you are a part of for your department.
Consider your options outside your current company for an increase and start applying. When you have the raise conversation you can go ahead and let them know you are actively looking outside and are currently interviewing with other companies. The plus for this step is that if your company refuses to give you the raise you deserve, then you have a head start on finding your next opportunity.
Although it can be a bit intimidating to ask for more money, it is likely you will need to at some point. Companies can often take their high performing employees for granted, thinking that they won't leave. Don't let yourself be taken advantage of. Raise the courage to ask for what you deserve and take action to earn it elsewhere if the company refuses to comply.
For further reading, I Will Teach You To Be Rich has a great article on this topic, read it here.