Maybe it’s time for your annual review, maybe there’s been a recent restructuring, or maybe you are interviewing for a new job. Whatever the reason, the time has come for one of the most important and anxiety-inducing events in your career – negotiating your salary.
Even in a down market, there are important reasons to negotiate your salary. You have to be careful though that you don’t make a misstep that could hurt your position in the company.
When you’re ready to have the conversation, make sure to follow these expert tips on how to negotiate a salary with employers:
Tip#1: Do Your Deep Research – It Will Pay Off, Pun Intended
You want to come to the table with concrete facts that will help support your case. What is the market value for your position? What are other companies currently offering for comparable experience?
Is your job in high demand right now? Knowing the market value of your position can be very helpful on two fronts. First, it will keep the discussion factual which will help to keep emotions from getting involved. Second, it may reset your expectations for how much it is reasonable to ask for.
Tip#2: You Can’t Have What You Want Unless You Know What You Want, but Be Flexible and Reasonable
After you’ve done your research you should have a good idea of what your salary should be. Don’t get too attached to that specific figure though because your company (or the one you’re interviewing for) just may not be able to give it to you.
Take the discussion very seriously and consider any reasons they provide for not giving you exactly what you ask for. Be open-minded to other forms of compensation as well. Some companies have strict guidelines for salary increases, but may be able to offer substantial bonus opportunities, additional paid vacation time, remote work opportunities, or other financial perks.
If you do a good job of pitching your strengths and value, they will find a way to make an offer that you are happy with.
Tip#3: You Can’t Afford To Forget To Keep It Positive
You’ve done research, prepared yourself to be open-minded, and now it’s finally time for battle. You’ve got to go in there, be persistent, and not take no for an answer…right? Wrong. If you are negotiating a pay increase, keep in mind that while you have been preparing and thinking about this for possibly weeks in advance, it’s likely that your boss has not.
They may be caught off guard and you don’t want either party involved to become defensive. The last thing you want is to come off as bullying your own boss. A good negotiation needs both parties to be active in the conversation, so if your boss needs time to think and prepare on their own, give them that time. If you are negotiating as part of a new job, keep in mind that you are still technically in the interview process. The attitude you have now is what they will expect to see going forward.
Tip#4: Don’t Lose Sight – It’s About Them, Not You
Yes, you’re negotiating a salary for you, but don’t come with a bulleted list of why you need the money. Everyone wants to help out someone in need, but that’s not reason enough to give someone a higher salary.
You need to be ready to prove how you will help them. More importantly, how you have made them (or past employers) more money and how you will continue to do just that. If you are not in a revenue generating position, you still need to come up with good reasons why paying you more will actually help them.
Tip #5: Salary is Earned, Not given – Provide the Proof First
Pay follows performance, not the other way around. You can’t expect your employer to give you a raise if you haven’t already proven to them that you deserve it. This doesn’t mean you need to be working for free, but make sure you are performing at your best.
If you are currently a top performer, then they can expect you will continue to be. If you are a poor performer, you will have a much harder time trying to convince them that more money will transform you into a top performer.
Negotiating your salary can be one of the most difficult aspects of your career. It is very hard to keep emotions out of the process, but if you do your research, keep an open mind, and approach the discussion with a positive attitude, your odds of a good outcome are higher. Most importantly, always work to your best abilities because there is nothing a company is more likely to pay a premium price for than a hard-working, top performer.
What negotiation techniques have you used to successfully attain a desired salary? Share your personal insights in the comments below.
Gerald Buck is the editor of www.ejobapplications.com, a website offering free downloadable job application forms, career information, job interview and resume tips, as well as much more. He can be reached via Twitter @EJobApplication.
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