5 Tips for Negotiating Your Salary

If you’ve been doing a great job on the job for several years but you haven’t seen a raise in ages, it might be prime time to negotiate your salary. Storming into your boss’s office and demanding more money is not likely to get you a positive response, nor is making your request without first doing a bit of preparation and research. Part of the preparation includes reviewing and heeding five tips for negotiating your salary.

Research what you’re worth. A helpful starting point for salary negotiations is finding out what companies are typically paying for a person who holds your position. Statistics are available at the U.S. Department of Labor and your state’s employment commission. If you happen to find out, however, your job as an administrative assistant typically pays less than you are making, you might want to leave your findings out of the salary negotiation session.

Prove why you’re worth it. Arm yourself with a list of accomplishments you’ve brought to the company to back up your request. Be as specific as possible, citing numbers, profit increases and percentages when applicable. Having a comprehensive list of all you have done and will continue to do can help your negotiations by placing your skills, abilities and success in front of your boss in black and white. That black and white can lead to more green if you provide enough details of your stellar history with the firm and outline what other companies are paying employees with similar jobs.

Research what your company will realistically pay. Being a manager in New York City may earn you higher wage increases and better benefits than you'd earn even in executive position in New Mexico. A company’s location and its financial standing play a role in what it is able or willing to pay its employees. Larger companies with branches throughout the U.S. will probably be more likely to pay more than a firm that has a single office owned by a single person. Salaries also depend on the company’s budget and the financial climate. If several layoffs went down on Monday, don’t expect a salary negation on Friday to reap great rewards.

Have a number in mind, but be ready to compromise. Getting an increase in salary can be tough even when business is flush. The task can be even more difficult in hard economic times. Having a realistic number in mind is a great starting point and shows you’ve done your research, but it may not be the only way you can get a boost in your position. If the bottom line on receiving more money is a solid no, don’t forget about the other benefits you can request in lieu of money that may be met with a “yes” or “maybe.” These include additional personal days or vacation time, a more flexible schedule or even continued education or training in your field paid for by your employer.

Remain professional regardless of the outcome. Throwing a temper tantrum, whining, crying or otherwise reacting on an emotional level if you do not get what you want can doom your future with the company. Leave emotions out of it. Nor should salary negotiations be a time to bring up your overall dissatisfaction with the workplace, annoyances with coworkers or other beefs you may have about the job. With your boss already aware that you no longer sated by your current wages, an emotional blow-up during negotiations could transform the negotiation session into a firing session, with you in the firing line.