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By Kathryn Pins
Congrats! You have just been asked to take on a big project or you’ve received some great feedback from your manager. You’ve put a lot of work into your position and deserve to celebrate. However, before you get going on your next big thing, you may need to pause and take a look at the complete offer. It’s time to negotiate a raise.
Negotiating your salary is important to your overall financial health. In fact, a study has shown that women who consistently negotiate an increase in their salary earn at least $1 million more during their careers than women who don't. Men who negotiated were able to increase their starting salaries by an average of 7.4 percent, or about $4,000.
Now that we see the importance of salary negotiation, we’re going to take a look at how we can negotiate smart and what to negotiate.
It’s always good to start broad and get some background information about your position. Ask yourself, “How much do people typically make in my role?” To answer this question, you will need to do some research. Do your research on LinkedIn, Payscale, or Bureau of Labor Statistics. This data is not perfect, but it could provide some insight. Also, this is not a negotiation tool. You would not tell your manager, “Glassdoor tells me I should be making this…” but it can help you come up with a number and personal goal.
In a salary negotiation, it is important to come armed with knowledge. Your direct supervisor has a good idea of your work, but it is up to you to remind them of specific instances where you’ve added value. Before going into a negotiation, compile a list of your best accomplishments.
Explain how you added value to the team, especially if you have gone above and beyond your current role. It’s best not to compare yourself to your colleagues when talking yourself up. Keep the tone positive and about you.
Quantify your wins. If you implemented a new process that saved the organization money, find the numbers and share them. It’s easier to ask for more when you have demonstrated how the company is saving money by keeping you happy.
Don’t forget to share your potential value as well. Once you’ve demonstrated your past value, let them know your plans for your role and how you will help the company achieve its goals in the future. Forward-thinking individuals are very important to the health of an organization. Demonstrating your future value will give you a leg up when negotiating your raise.
It is important to be clear about what you are asking for. Have a plan and a rough script of what you would like to say. Avoid qualifying language like “I think” and go directly to the meat of your argument: “I deserve a raise because…” Think of how the conversation will go and come in prepared for counter arguments and questions. The more prep, the better you will feel going into the negotiation and the better the outcome.
During the meeting, focus on what you add to the team and the organization. It is important to say why you deserve a raise, not why you need a raise. Talking about your expenses such as a new mortgage will not help you negotiate a salary.
Ask for a specific number or percent instead of a rough idea. Explain how and why you came up with this number. The specifics will make it easier for your supervisor to go to bat for you.
Be prepared for no. Your manager may not think you are ready for a raise or will counter with less than what you wanted. Be respectful and ask for opportunities to prove yourself. See if you can negotiate working from home or professional development. Set goals and be clear about your future expectations within the organization. Despite all of this, you may feel it’s time to move on. Take a look at some of the fastest-growing professions to help you make your next move.
You will never get what you want unless you ask for it. Take advantage of every opportunity to add more value to the team. Complete your goals. Go into your negotiation with confidence, knowing you’ve done your research and know your worth. Advocate for yourself and you will be in an even better place financially because of it.
Kathryn Pins is a marketing content specialist at Alliant. She’s passionate about finding and communicating meaningful financial information with Money Mentor readers. Kathryn is a saver who gets more excited about certificates and her Roth IRA than shopping. When she does spend her earnings, it’s on furthering her education, travel, unique experiences, and loved ones.