When you’re ready to talk salary, it’s important to understand that the conversation is about more than just the number. It’s a chance to highlight your accomplishments, demonstrate how you’ve added value and create an opportunity for future conversations. The first step in negotiating a raise is convincing your employer that you deserve one, so be prepared to present a well-supported case. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to negotiate the rate at which you want to be paid. It’s a good idea to establish a range before entering the discussion, with the lowest amount being your current pay and the highest representing what you feel is your market worth. The research you’ve done during your pre-negotiation preparation can help you determine this range.
While you should definitely hone your negotiating skills, don’t enter the conversation with the goal of “winning.” Instead, focus on establishing a win-win scenario in which you get what you need and the company gets its money’s worth. During the negotiation, remain calm and composed and never speak negatively about your boss or the company. Keeping a professional attitude will not only keep the negotiation on track, but it will also give your boss reason to remember you as a hard-working, reliable employee.
Raise negotiation strategies aren’t always successful, so it’s essential to plan accordingly and prepare for the possibility that your employer will reject your request. One of the best ways to prepare is to practice in front of a mirror or with friends and family to become comfortable talking about your goals and needs during a salary conversation. In addition, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with your employer’s financial situation and growth. If the company is struggling, you may want to wait until it recovers before requesting a raise.
It’s also a good idea to decide what you’re willing to walk away from before beginning the conversation. This will help you avoid wasting your time by discussing alternative compensation, such as extra vacation or flexible work hours, that the company isn’t able to provide.
Before the meeting, compile all of your accomplishments, recommendations and testimonials into a single document that you can bring to the table. This will serve as an easy-to-reference guide for your employer to use when they ask you why you think you deserve a raise. It’s also a great way to ensure that you don’t overlook any key achievements.
Once your employer agrees that you do deserve a raise, they’ll likely ask what you’re looking for. It’s a good idea to start the conversation with an initial offer that’s higher than what you’re actually willing to accept, as this will give you more room to bargain during the negotiation process. It’s also a good idea to have a backup number that you’re willing to walk away from, such as the minimum amount required to stay competitive in your industry.
After the conversation, follow up with a thank-you email or note, reiterating your gratitude and the terms of any agreements made. It’s also a good idea for you to set up another time to discuss your salary again, if appropriate.