If you want to ask your boss for a raise, here’s how to do it.
Negotiating salary makes even the most seasoned professionals nervous. The idea of walking into a room to face off with your boss or manager in an attempt to justify why they should pay you more is not a pleasant thought. There’s high potential for emotions to boil over, and things can go awry quite quickly. In addition, many professionals wonder if they even know how to correctly negotiate salary with their current employer.
Before you set up a meeting with your boss, a whirlwind of questions may rush through your mind: Is my claim justified? What if my boss gets upset and lets me go? Will this change my relationship with the company? What happens if my employer says no? Do I even deserve a raise? Can I support my lifestyle if I don’t get this raise in pay?
It’s funny where our minds will go when we’re faced with a stressful situation like this — but don’t let your brain play games with you. You deserve to ask for that raise, and these tips will help you feel more confident while negotiating your pay.
How to ask your boss for a raise
1. Do your research
Research the market rate for your current role, using sites such as Glassdoor, Salary.com, or PayScale. What is the average salary for the role when you factor in your years of experience, your industry, the size of your company, and the company’s location? How does your current salary compare? Use this information to help you create a target salary that you can share with your boss.
2. Create your brag book
Often times, your boss’ or manager’s knowledge of all of the positive contributions you’ve made to the company will be limited. It’s not that they don’t care about what you do; they are just busy and don’t have the bandwidth to keep track of every little thing you do each day. If your boss is any good at their job, they learned to empower and trust their team, which means they aren’t 100 percent in touch with your day-to-day contributions to the company.
Because of this, it will be your job to make sure that your supervisor is aware of the value you add to the company. In the weeks leading up to the salary negotiation meeting, you’ll want to compile a list of the things you do within your role that add value, also known as creating your brag book. Rank your achievements in order of the impact they have on the bottom line, highlighting areas where you go beyond your general responsibilities.
3. Quantify your achievements
Within your brag book, if there’s a number you can attach to a line item, make sure to do so. For example, if you developed a process that eliminates paper waste and thus saves the company $200,000 annually, that’s something you’ll want to note. The more details you can provide, the better position you’ll be in to negotiate effectively. Compiling this list will help you present yourself as a serious asset to the company — one it can’t afford to lose to the competition. Use this as leverage in your negotiations.
You have to be careful with what you say, though. Don’t embellish and certainly don’t make anything up. There’s a good chance your facts will get checked, and if you make too bold a claim that turns out to be false, you not only won’t get the raise, but you’ll end up being under suspicion for the remainder of your time within that role.
4. Don’t be overeager
You don’t have to take the first offer that’s laid out on the table. One common mistake in negotiations is that one of the parties falls in love right away. By telling your employer how much you love being at the company and how you’d never consider leaving, you’ve already left a lot of dollars off the table. The idea is to let the company know you do enjoy working there, while at the same time making it clear that you know your services are so valuable you’d be an asset to any company who’d hire you.
When the first offer comes across the table, it’s important that you don’t get too excited (or at least that you don’t show it). You can always go back to that original offer if you don’t get what you want. Give it a shot and let your employer know you think you’re worth more by putting a counteroffer on the table. This shows your employer that you possess assertiveness — but don’t be rude or pushy about it. Be sure that you do it with respect, but it’s definitely worth a shot. The worst that could happen is that the company sticks with the first offer.
Not accepting too quickly can also set the tone for future salary negotiations. If an employer senses that you’ll cave at the first offer, future negotiations just got a lot more difficult for you. Instead, let your employers know that you understand the process and you know you have options. The first offer will typically be lower than the actual amount your supervisor has been approved to offer you, and possessing that knowledge can put you in a much better position when you enter into negotiations.
5. Don’t burn bridges
It’s important for you to keep in mind that whatever the outcome of negotiating salary may be, you’ll still be working in that same job the next day with that same individual as your boss. For that reason, it’s important that you don’t go into negotiations with an arrogant attitude or otherwise paint yourself in a negative light.
One of the best tips on how to negotiate salary with your current employer is to watch what you say and avoid saying the wrong thing. It can be difficult to turn things around once you’ve gone down a bad path. If you let your emotions get the best of you, you risk saying something you’ll regret. Salary negotiations aren’t personal, so be sure to avoid looking at them in that manner. Don’t burn bridges by saying something you can’t take back. Unless you have a counteroffer on the table from another company, the person with whom you’re negotiating will most likely be overseeing your work for at least a little while longer. There’s no reason for you to make your supervisor-employee relationship uncomfortable.
By taking these things into consideration and knowing how to negotiate salary, you’ll put yourself in a much better position to receive acceptance to the demands you present during your negotiations. You’ll also show your employer a new skill you possess. Skilled negotiators are highly sought after in the business world, and your ability to come across as skilled in this area will position you for more than just a raise — it’ll position you for potential promotions and new job opportunities, as well.
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