Tips for negotiating a higher salary

March 27, 2017

Congratulations! You either got a new job, or you think you’re in a position to ask for a raise at your current job. We all want to make the most money we can, and the good news is that there are things you can do to increase your chances of successfully negotiating a higher salary.

The first thing to do is make sure you know yourself. Before broaching the negotiation, be clear on what your priorities and goals are. Know what’s most important to you, and what you would be willing to compromise on. Consider more than just your salary – take into account health and retirement benefits, education reimbursement, vacation and sick time, and telecommuting/flex work opportunities. These can all bump up your net worth, even if they don’t lead to a bigger a number on your paycheck.

The next thing you need to do is research. You should know the salary range for someone in a comparable position at a comparable company in your city. If you can find out, it’s helpful to know how much other people in comparable positions in your own company make, but that may not be possible. During the negotiation, aim for the top of the salary range, and end your number in 250 or 750, such as $125,250. The specificity implies that you’ve done extensive research.

You should also be able to articulate your value to your employer. List your accomplishments, awards, performance appraisals, and testimonials. If you have data showing the value you’ve provided such as budget savings or sales increases, be sure to include those metrics. See the negotiation from your employer’s point of view and focus on what you can do for the company. Avoid mentioning personal situations, such as your need to pay your child’s tuition.

Practice, practice, practice. Before you enter the negotiation, practice in front of a mirror. Practice responses to what your employer might say to turn you down. It’s also an excellent idea to practice the negotiation with your spouse, a friend or even a paid coach. There are many websites with sample answers and even scripts to help you practice negotiating your salary. Be sure that your request is based on facts that document your value to your employer, and that you are able to wait silently once you’ve stated your position so that your employer has a chance to process and respond.

Pick a good time to negotiate a higher salary

If you’re already in the job, pick a time when you’ve successfully completed an important task or when you’ve been asked to take on more or new responsibilities. You should also try to ensure that neither you nor your boss is especially busy and that you are well-rested. If you’re starting a new job, wait to negotiate salary until you have a firm job offer. When you receive the offer, ask for a little time to think about it and use that time to prepare to negotiate your salary when you accept the job.

Finally, whatever happens during the negotiation, always maintain your professionalism, even if you’re unhappy or dissatisfied with the result.

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