There comes a point where all of us feel underpaid. Negotiating salary and benefits can be very uncomfortable and stressful, but it’s an important skill for everyone who works for an employer. Here are 8 great tips to help you feel more confident about asking for what you’re worth, whether it’s negotiating a starting salary and benefits, or requesting a raise.
- Know your worth. Do some research on what others in your industry and job are earning in your general area. This allows you to negotiate with confidence: You know others are making the same salary you’re asking to receive…and you could make that amount elsewhere.
- Know your employer. Is the market being kind to your company or industry? Is there an upswing in sales lasting at least a year? If your employer is contemplating laying off employees, it’s not the right time to ask for a raise.
- Realistic goals. Just because you want to make a six-figure salary doesn’t mean your employer is obligated to meet that goal. See 1 & 2. Are your goals aligned with what’s possible? If your company can’t afford to pay you more, consider alternatives. Benefits may not affect the corporate bottom line as much, and so they may be accommodated even when the budget can’t stretch to a raise.
- Timing. Choose a time when you have been performing well, are in your boss’ good graces, and when the budget re-sets, such as the beginning of a financial year or quarter. This gives you the advantage of removing some common barriers.
- Don’t make it personal. Don’t discuss the home you want to buy, or the bills that are stacking up. For your employer, your salary has to do with the value of your work, not your financial needs.
- Go last. When it’s time to negotiate salary and benefits, don’t offer the first number. If your interviewer or boss insists on knowing your target, give that well-researched range and make a case for why you believe you deserve the higher end of that range.
- Go slow. There’s rarely a need to rush. Ask for time to think it over, and end the discussion. Wait a few days. Many hiring managers will make a better offer so they don’t lose you.
- Be flexible. If there’s no room to negotiate the money, ask for better benefits. An extra week of vacation, working from home one week a month, or flexible scheduling might make you feel more appreciated in your current position.
If you try these methods and still feel underpaid or underappreciated, maybe it’s time to look around at other opportunities. If you are a professional in our key industries, contact us, we’ll help you find a company that values your skillset.