Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Women Deserve Raises too

Q. I've had this job five years and like it very much, but I haven't had a raise. I know the men in my department get raises, but I'm afraid to ask for one because I don't want to be fired. Can you help?

Ans. Women deserve regular raises too, particularly when male colleagues are getting them. And the men probably get them because they're smart enough and assertive enough to ask. You must do the same. Even though women outnumber men in the workforce now, they still lag in salary. Work Expert Margaret Morford  claims women hold themselves back and must put emotions aside to become real negotiators. If you underplay what you do, others will believe that of you. Instead, her tips for asking for a raise are: research what your position pays elsewhere, prepare an accomplishments list (prove your worth), be upfront about what you want before you meet ("I'd like to talk with you about my compensation"), be professional and brief, practice the "strategic shut up" (Listen and don't interrupt). Men who aren't getting raises should use the same strategies.

Be Clear About Last Job's Duties

No formula for keeping seat in layoff