Negotiating your salary for the first time seems insurmountable, scary, and downright daunting, but studies show that people who have negotiated a higher starting salary usually got the raise. It may not seem like much now, but it could be the difference between having enough for that dream vacation now or a down payment for a home ten years down the road. A survey conducted by PayScale shows a relationship between people who negotiated their salary vs. those who didn’t. Those who did, earned more over time than their non-negotiating counterparts. Here are a few tips below to help you negotiate your salary.
Know your value
This one may seem obvious, but it’s worth stating. You need to know your value. You want to highlight how you have excelled in other positions and the value you brought with you to this one. You also want to do research on what an average salary is for something with your years of experience in similar positions. This piece of advice is especially true for women, who tend to value themselves less and believe a lower salary is still fair.
Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about what you can do for the company. Leave the arguments at home about how you need more money to take the dream vacation, or how you have a child on the way. Though your boss may be sympathetic, it’s not necessarily grounds for a raise. Instead, show how you have met or exceeded company goals, finished projects early, or under budget, and any additional responsibilities that you have taken on since starting. These add value to you because you are doing more for the company, and your boss is more likely to give you a raise.
Metrics work the best to convey your value. How much have you brought in or can bring into this company in sales or generated revenue? How much have you saved your company or could save this company by tightening up or improving processes or responsibilities? How can a specific certificate or degree that you have received, provide extra value to the company? Can your connections bring in more customers or revenue? These are the metrics that can help you justify higher pay.
Here are some examples of how you can show your value:
You obviously believe that you deserve a raise for one reason or another, so don’t be timid when you talk to your boss. This doesn’t mean being arrogant, but it does mean you understand your value and you are confident in the reasons as to why you deserve a raise, not just want one. Don’t be rude or pushy, but make sure you don’t come off as a rabbit in front of a wolf.
Talk to current employees
If you can set up an informal meeting with one or two current employees that you may know before negotiations start, then do it. You can find out about their pay, how raises are typically distributed, and what an employer is looking for when evaluating for a higher salary. You can also find out how they negotiated their current salary and where an employer is willing to budge and what limits there may be.
If not pay, negotiate for other perks
Generally, we only think of our base pay when we think of negotiations, but there are other things you can throw into the mix too – especially if the employer can’t budge on the salary. Paid time off (PTO), telecommuting privileges, start date, and job title are just a few things that you can negotiate. Think about what is important to you if you can’t get the pay you want and push for that instead.
Don’t be forceful
It’s easy to go there – but don’t. You want to get a raise based on your merit, not the fact that you believe the company can’t make it without you. Threatening to leave (or anything else) will leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Lay out why you think you deserve a raise based on what you have done and what you can do for the company in the future.
Set up a meeting
Don’t blindside your boss by starting a salary negotiation in the break room. Instead, let them know you would like to sit down and talk about your performance and possible raise. This gives each of you time to prepare and less likely that your boss will say no right off the bat.
“No” could turn into a “Yes”
Remember, companies need to make money too, so it may not be in the budget to give you a raise the moment you ask for it. If your boss or supervisor says that this is the reason that they can’t give you the salary you are looking for right now, find out when would be a better time and be clear that you are aiming for that time period. Don’t be pushy, and understand that management has its limits.
If it is a new job and you are not coming in at the pay you would like but you know that your value will justify a higher salary, ask them to give you a raise performance-based at six months if you meet your goals at intended. Employers will be more willing to pay for more once they see you can justify it with your action.
You will only get a raise if you ask for one
Remember, there really is no downfall to asking for a higher raise as long as you intend to justify the higher pay with financial results that go well beyond your desired raise. If your approach is that you want to grow in your career with this company and invest in its success, you will show initiative.
If your boss says no, reasons could include: 1) You are not making, producing, or performing well enough to justify a raise, and you probably need to “up your game”; 2) Your boss is not investing in you, your talent and your growth for some reason, and you should ask to he or she what that reason may be and perhaps start looking for another company on your spare time if needed; or 3) There might just be a timing, resource or growth issue and it will benefit you to know what is going on so that you can make an informed decision on what your next move may be.
Aimee Marcelo is a career strategist and CEO of Career5. If you want to further your career beyond LinkedIn, try strategizing it with our unique career guidance system called the Career5 Road Map. It is a fun process that teaches you the methodology of realizing your dreams by taking control of your career and treating it like your own personal business. Think YOU Inc. For job seekers, there is the Rapid Job Search Roadmap that guides you through the process of effectively getting a job quickly.