6 Tips for Effective Salary Negotiation: How to Get Paid More Before the New Year

6 Tips for Effective Salary Negotiation at Work

Asking for more money at work can feel like the scariest conversation to have with an employer. In fact, it’s such an intimidating topic that most people don’t even attempt it all! The consequences are profound and inevitable: money left on the table and work dissatisfaction.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

What if you could learn to confidently broach the subject of getting paid more and walk away with the promise of your desired paycheck? Today’s article will walk you through 6 tips for fruitful salary negotiation discussions, whether you’re considering a new job offer or asking for a pay bump in your current position.

Are you getting paid your worth at work? If not, then it’s time to do something about it. Keep reading to learn how to negotiate a higher salary internally or in an interview!

How to Ask for a Higher Salary

Know Your Value

First, always, always, ALWAYS approach salary negotiations from a purely business standpoint. You might have some very valid personal reasons why you need more money, but this shouldn’t enter the discussion at all.

Instead, remember why your employer hired (or is considering hiring) you: to add value to the company. This means you must understand your role’s importance to the business and form your case from that angle.

Discuss how you have added value in the past and your detailed plan to add value in the future, especially as your salary increases to reflect your worth.

There are several ways to gather evidence that will strengthen your case.

For instance, make it a habit to track your professional growth with a career journal so you can reflect on your professional life routinely or simply make a note every time you experience a win or notice an improvement.

You can also regularly review your job description to gauge how you’re meeting or exceeding expectations. Also, keep your resume updated, even if you’re not looking for another role. Lastly, check in with other people! Ask your peers and superiors for feedback so you can understand your value from their perspective.

Here’s the point: instead of preparing for the salary negotiation right before it’s about to happen, do it over time to help you build a stronger case and give you confidence!

Know Your Numbers

Next salary negotiation tip: know your numbers. What do I mean by numbers?

Most people provide a salary range when negotiating. That’s not necessarily a bad approach, but your employer will almost always choose the lower end of that range, meaning you’re nearly guaranteed to get lowballed every time.

Instead, have two numbers in mind.

The first number (and the one you should explicitly ask for) should be your ideal salary. The second number (which you shouldn’t announce upfront) is the lowest you’re willing to accept. Consider making these two numbers within $5-$10K of each other and sticking within that range.

However, you can’t pull these numbers from thin air; make sure you research and vet them!

Start with tools like LinkedIn Salary, Payscale, and Glassdoor. However, note that their results will vary wildly, meaning you might end up with a colossal salary range. Consider reinforcing your research by talking to recruiters, peers in your industry (and a similar location), and even a career coach.

Talk to the Right Person

Remember this tip when negotiating a salary internally: know the right person to approach. In other words, don’t automatically assume that your HR manager is that person! Unless you’re also in the HR department, they might not be. Consider approaching your department manager or someone else who works with you directly, who can appreciate your value and has the power to advocate for you to get a higher salary.

Time the Discussion Properly

Another salary negotiation tip to diffuse your nervousness is simply to time the discussion appropriately. For example, if you’re currently interviewing for a new position, prepare to negotiate your salary once the hiring manager brings it up. Alternatively, if you want to ask for a raise at a current job, do so during the performance review period.

Why? These are both times when the person you’re negotiating with expects to have this discussion, meaning that they won’t feel blindsided.

Practice Speaking Confidently

Picture this: you’re looking for a high-quality computer at Best Buy. The salesperson leads you up to one and says something like: “This one’s pretty nice… um, I mean, the battery life isn’t the best, but like, it’s got pretty decent storage capacity…”

That wouldn’t inspire much confidence, would it?

Similarly, remember that when you’re negotiating your salary, you’re selling yourself. Practice speaking with boldness and assertiveness. Once again, evidence of your value will give you a massive confidence boost, but consider doing mock interviews to practice speaking and self-advocacy.

Prepare for Pushback

The last salary negotiation tip is to prepare for the worst-case scenario. While salary negotiations are often fruitful (one study showed that 85% of Americans who counteroffered succeeded), your current or prospective employer might say no.

That isn’t the end of the world.

Instead, it’s an opportunity to determine what to do next. If you hear no, politely ask for concrete reasons why. It could be that the company is struggling financially or that they don’t feel that you’re requested pay raise properly reflects your performance.

You can do a few things: work with your manager to develop a strategy to get you to your desired salary within a reasonable timeline. If your company is struggling financially, consider negotiating non-monetary compensation like schedule flexibility or stock options. As a last resort, you can turn down the job offer or resign if you can find a better position.

Practice Makes Perfect!

It’s almost always possible to walk out of salary negotiation with a win, even if the discussion doesn’t go perfectly. The key is to be brave enough to ask for what you’re worth. Feel like you need a confidence boost? Book an interview coaching session with me to help you prepare to answer the salary question!

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