Use the Recertification Process to Earn a Raise or Promotion

Benefit from your professional development efforts in every context

By Maggie Barnes January 9, 2020
employee asks boss for a raise

​Do you realize that the work you're doing to earn professional development credits (PDCs) toward SHRM recertification can also be used to further your career by earning a raise or promotion?

The advice offered in a recent HR Magazine article, "Talking Your Way into a Bigger Raise," inspired the following tips, fine-tuned for SHRM-certified professionals who have many unique advantages over their raise-seeking peers.

Know Your Market Value So You Can Justify a Raise

Familiarize yourself with the latest compensation data, which estimates how much money you should be earning based on your position, years of experience and location. Apply your competency in Critical Evaluation to interpret that information, using it to frame an open conversation with your manager or supervisor.

Emphasize mutual benefits, weaving in the words "we" and "us" frequently. A good approach might be to say, "I think I deserve a higher salary. Let's figure out how we can have my pay fairly reflect what I'm worth to the organization."

Supplement your case with actual HR compensation data reports. (SHRM members have complimentary access to 30 such reports, provided in partnership with through our Compensation Data Center.)

Quantify and Highlight Your Achievements

How you steer any conversation is crucial, as you know from your understanding of the Relationship Management competency. When talking with your manager, lead with your raise request and anchor it to justifying information. Compensation data is just the beginning—there's a lot more you can use to justify your request.

Have you submitted a work project to earn PDCs under the Advance Your Organization category? If so, use that same information as a supportive resource in negotiating your raise. Go over the Work Project Worksheet that you filled out in your certification portal to prepare your talking points. It's a succinct outline of your project's value. When discussing a raise with your boss, keep in mind that what made the project PDC-worthy also makes you raise-worthy.

Several activities in the Advance Your Profession category can illustrate your skills.

If you've earned PDCs for writing a book, article, white paper or blog posts, show your manager what you published. The same goes with PDCs earned for teaching a course or making a presentation—show your syllabus or notes.

You may have earned PDCs for volunteering your time and talent as a mentor, subject matter expert, advocate or research participant, or by serving in a leadership role for an HR-related nonprofit. Show your manager what you accomplished and how those accomplishments benefit your organization through increased experience and expertise. They can justify an increase in pay or position level.

The PDCs you've earned for activities completed in the Advance Your Education category demonstrate how you've furthered your knowledge as well as your commitment to staying current on trends, compliance and best practices. Your certification portal will recap for your manager all the activities you've tracked.

Watching relevant webcasts and reading approved books that qualify for PDCs (especially on topics in HR analytics) not only improves your work, but are examples you can show your boss to explain how your work improved. Turn to SHRM for instructional resources on how to use and analyze HR data.

Restate Your Commitment to the Organization

Employers will go to great lengths to retain employees who are fully engaged—people who are actively involved in and enthusiastic about their workplace. Reiterate to your boss that you're committed to the organization's mission and aligned with its core values.

Don't waste valuable time waiting for management to notice that you're doing high-quality work and reward you with a raise or promotion. Go after it! Apply your competency in Leadership & Navigation to make your case.

See the SHRM Recertification Requirements Handbook for guidance—and inspiration.

Maggie Barnes is SHRM's senior specialist, Engagement Marketing.

Have additional questions? Send them to

For more information on SHRM Certification, and to register for the exam, please visit our website.

Already SHRM-certified? Be sure to maintain your credential by recertifying. Learn more about recertification activities here.


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