4 Steps to Negotiate a Raise You Deserve

by Sophia Bera on March 25, 2015

Whether you just landed a new job or worked in your position for over a year, you might find it intimidating to negotiate a raise in pay. It’s tough to talk about money and ask for more. You want to make sure you are not overstepping your boundaries, or asking too much — but you also want to get paid what you deserve.

Negotiating can feel difficult and hard, but there are steps you can take to make the process easier. Here are 4 actions to take so you can negotiate a raise you deserve.

Do Your Research

Before a job interview or a periodic review, do some research on your position and salaries in your area. Start by looking at sites like Glassdoor and PayScale to see what others in your field and industry make.

This will help you ensure your request for more money is within reason. It also helps you to pinpoint an exact figure to ask for. You should be prepared to give a hard number when you negotiate a raise and your supervisor asks what you want.

You may find you’re currently underpaid relative to what others in your area are making and therefore have lots of room for growth. Right on par with the average salary? You can still ask for more if your work provides value to your company!

Negotiating gives you the opportunity to ask for and receive what you’re worth.

Choose the Right Time

As the saying goes, timing is everything. A first interview is not an appropriate time to bring up salary and try to negotiate — let that happen further down the line.

If you’re a current employee, wait until your performance review. If you work in a non-traditional workplace or do not have regularly scheduled reviews, make it a point to schedule a meeting with your boss.

Avoid busy times like the holidays or during stressful work events. Schedule a meeting ahead of time and let your boss know that you would like to chat.

Giving them notice can help both of you prepare for your meeting, so that you can set the stage and prepare to negotiate.

Practice and Prepare

Negotiating is more like an art than a science — it requires a lot of practice and finesse to do it right. In your rehearsal, you’ll want to go over:

  • Your recent accomplishments: point out specific achievements or positive events that you made happen (i.e. Focus on how you’ve saved the company money or generated more revenue)
  • Stats and figures that offer measurable success (e.g. sales have been up 60%, etc.)
  • Improved processes or procedures to save yourself, your boss, or your co-workers time
  • What you have done that is above and beyond your role and how you look forward to growing with the company

Start by practicing in the mirror and later with a friend. You want to sound confident, self-assured, and ready, so practicing ahead of time can help avoid any awkward situations where you feel flustered. Don’t try and memorize what you want to say, however. Just familiarize yourself with what you will present.

Don’t forget to consider a variety of outcomes. Know how you want to respond if:

  • They say no
  • They give you a low offer
  • They say “yes” immediately
  • They offer more than you anticipated

If your employer says no, politely ask for feedback and understand why. See if you can schedule another meeting at a later date such as 6 months from now. Asking why can help you understand where the answer came from. Find out what you boss or manager needs from you in order to be willing to increase your salary. Ask him or her, “If I reach these benchmarks and exceed your expectations, can we revisit my salary in 6 months?”

Sometimes it’s not up to the person you’re speaking with. The  company may be dealing with a budget issue — and therefore a rejection is nothing personal. Other times, your supervisor may provide specific reasons why they don’t feel a raise is appropriate at this time. Take that as constructive criticism and work to improve.

If the response is a lower offer than your desired salary, start negotiating. Negotiating with grace and tact requires you to state the facts on why you believe you are worth more, without sounding like you are complaining or simply trying to get more money from the company.

Remember to check your personal reasons at the door. It’s extremely unprofessional to ask for a raise because your rent went up or because you want to save for a new car. State only reasons associated with your work and performance. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about the value you provide the company.

To get what you want and what you deserve, you need to illustrate why. The most important part is preparing for a variety of reactions and feeling confident in your execution when it’s your turn to respond.

Create a Toolbox of Techniques and Resources

Practicing is one thing, but actually negotiating in the moment is something different altogether. While practicing can help smooth out any wrinkles in your approach, you should also create a toolbox of techniques and resources that you can use during the actual negotiating process.

To start, check out:

Having a toolbox of techniques and resources you can reference can help you rock negotiating and get that raise you deserve.

Think of negotiating as simply a conversation. Break it down into small steps and pieces with the ultimate outcome of making more money and getting what you deserve. Focus on what you bring to the table and discuss how you plan on continuing to grow with the position.

Most importantly you’ll want to make yourself the most valuable asset at your company and show them exactly why you’re worth it.