We all want to make more money. Getting into a new career field, picking up a side gig, or earning a promotion can all help you do it. But if you’re doing an awesome job in your current career and you feel that you’re worthy of a higher salary, negotiating a higher salary may be your best path forward.
Salary negotiations can be stressful and awkward, but they’re the only way to earn a higher wage; your employer probably won’t gift you a higher salary for no reason.
But if you want to be successful, there are several approaches and strategies you’ll need to utilize.
What to Do First
Before you enter a salary negotiation, there are several things you’ll need to do:
· Research your position. It’s important to go into negotiations armed with as much information as possible. That means you’ll need to spend some time researching what other people make in similar positions. Figure out what the average salary is, how that changes with experience, how it changes with location, and what the average raise is. This will also help you figure out how much of a raise to request.
· Earn new certifications. One way to increase your salary is to increase your value to the company. To do that, you can earn new certifications. Becoming a CPA, for example, could make you seem much more valuable to your accounting agency and set you up for a bigger raise.
· Learn new skills. Alternatively, you can learn new skills. Showing that you’ve mastered some new task, or that you’ve taken on a new responsibility can help strengthen your case.
· Accomplish things (and note those accomplishments). It’s not enough to say that you’re doing a “really good job.” It’s important to have specific accomplishments that you can show off. What, specifically, have you achieved recently? Do you have metrics that you can use to prove your performance?
How to Negotiate a Higher Salary
Once you’re ready to enter negotiations, follow these tips:
1. Come in with a clear plan. Before you set foot in the negotiating room, you’ll need to have a plan. How much of a raise are you going to ask for? What is your justification for asking for it? What are the key points you’ll mention as proof of your new worth? What objections do you anticipate, and how are you going to handle those objections? The more prepared you are, the better.
2. Choose the right time and place. Think about your timing and setting. If your boss is having a rough day and they’re about to walk out the door to get lunch, don’t ambush them with your request. Instead, proactively schedule a meeting with your boss and make sure they’re in a position to actually listen to you.
3. Show how you’ve earned this raise. Some people approach raises by talking about how much they want or need the raise, rather than how they’ve earned it; this is a mistake. Your employer doesn’t care that you just had a child or that you really want a new swimming pool. They care about what you’re worth to the company. Prove that you’re worthy of the raise.
4. Stick to the facts. Don’t embellish or speculate. Instead, try to stick to the facts as much as possible. Talk about what you can objectively prove – and be prepared to back up your claims if challenged.
5. Be polite, but direct. Be calm, respectful, and polite throughout the negotiation. But don’t be apologetic or indirect. Being firm will help you be taken more seriously, and being courteous will make your employer more agreeable.
6. Keep it short and simple. If you’re giving a speech or having a conversation, you’ll be tempted to provide as many insights and as much information as you can. But it’s usually better to keep things short and simple.
7. Consider alternative forms of compensation. Most people asking for a raise simply want more money per year (or per hour). But it’s worth considering alternative forms of compensation too. If your employer isn’t willing to increase your salary by 5 percent, would they be willing to give you a different kind of benefit? Could you get a special privilege instead, like a designated parking space?
8. Get it in writing. Whatever you manage to negotiate, try to get the agreement in writing. That way, you’ll have a documented record of events – and you’ll be able to hold your employer accountable to that agreement.
If you’re not successful in negotiating a higher salary, don’t give up. You’ll likely have another opportunity in the near future – and you’ll have more information and experience you can use to increase your odds of success.