Boss Lady

12 tips to negotiate a higher salary

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People always say that money can’t buy happiness. And that’s true. But it can certainly buy us things we enjoy. We just have to get it first.

However, when negotiating your salary, money is never the only thing you should discuss. This is because, while a pay rise would be great, there is more to life — and work — than money.

By negotiating for other things, like extra/better benefits, additional vacation time or even that ability to arrive and leave work when you’d like, you show your boss that money is not the only thing you’re thinking about.

Here are our 12 tips to negotiate a higher salary:

1. Practice your negotiating skills with a friend

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. But, as we all also know, nerves can also get the better of us. This is especially true when we have to ask for something, particularly if it relates to money.

Practicing your negotiating skills with a friend—preferably one who knows you better than you know yourself—will help you apply those skills in real life situations. This is because your friend will pick you up on anything that might work against you when you start salary negotiations with your boss.

This will also help build your confidence when asking for things in the workplace like a pay rise or even if you apply for a new position or job.

2. Never name the first number

Being the one to name a number first can make you seem like a lot of things. Mainly selfish or desperate if you ask for too much, too quickly. Instead, let them make the first move by naming a number first.

This way, it will be easier for you to enter the negotiation stage of the conversation because you will be able to make a counter offer that might include an increased salary, additional time off or extra/better benefits.

And, while they may also make a counter offer, they just might include something in their offer that you hadn’t thought of and is particularly appealing. So, no matter what comes up during your salary negotiations, never make the first move.

3. Never accept the first number

The first number named has a profound impact on the rest of the conversation. When negotiating your salary, never take the first number mentioned. This is because the first number says a lot about what you or your boss thinks about you and your financial worth to the company.

By holding off on agreeing to a number, not only do you prove that you can hold your own in a meeting and negotiate things, you also show that you value yourself in your job, you feel you’re doing well and moving yourself and the company forward and that you feel that you should be rewarded for that.

Additionally, if you take the first number mentioned, you haven’t really negotiated anything. You’ve simply heard a number higher than your current pay and said, “yeah, that sounds great”.

4. Fully understand the job

Thoroughly knowing the job you have applied for will give you a good understanding of what you can expect to earn. This can be done through reading the job description carefully, doing some research on the company you work for and what people who have the same job as you earn.

It may also help if you knew the kind of hours you will be working when you begin your new job, i.e. are you a shift worker or do you have a set amount of hours each week? This will also decide the kind of money you make and whether or not you can negotiate your salary because shift workers often get paid hourly rates, whereas if you have a set number of hours each week, you may be able to get a pay rise in the future.

5. Educate yourself on the company

Knowing as much as possible about the company you work for/have applied to work at and what they do will help you in your salary negotiations because, even if do this after few months of working there, it will show that you are interested in working for the company, believe in what they do and aren’t interested in just ‘having a job’.

However, you do have to be careful because, while you might be deserving of a pay rise, if you ask for one too soon, it may suggest you are only interested in money.

6. Know your strengths and differentiators

Knowing your strengths and weakness will be helpful for you to know when negotiating your salary because it shows that you have taken the time to reflect on your skills and qualities and that you (hopefully) want to improve them and move up the career ladder.

Additionally, knowing how you differ from your co-workers, e.g. why you’re more deserving of a pay rise, can also help in your salary negotiations because it can also show your boss just how much reflection you have done on your past performance and why you’re more deserving of a pay rise.

7. Decide on an appropriate salary range

Although it is nice to be paid and even nicer to be paid more, nobody wants to be paid less than what they deserve. This is an important thing to remember when negotiating your salary because you don’t want to seem selfish and ‘in it for the money’ by asking for too much. But, you also don’t want to self yourself short and end up getting less money than you began with.

To find a good balance between the two, do some research on what a person normally makes in your job and try to negotiate in that range.

Doing this will also show that you have not walked into this situation without any guidance and that you won’t be left drawing the short straw in the negotiations.

8. Define your ‘walk-away’ point

It may be unorthodox, but knowing how you would like to end your pitch for a pay rise can help you reverse engineer your pitch overall. This is because by thinking along the lines of “…and for those reasons I should get a pay rise”, you can think about all the reasons for why you should get a pay rise.

This can also help you be more concise and efficient during your pitch because you will have a list of all the things you want to mention that will go in your favor. This list will also remind your boss of all the good work you have done so far and, hopefully, will do in the future.

9. Make the ask

People often don’t ask for things because they are afraid they will be told ‘no’. But the truth of the matter is that, you don’t know what anyone will say unless you just ask. And the first step to doing this is to simply make the step.

By doing this, you will also show that you are a confident person and are willing to ask for the things you feel you deserve regardless of what the answer you get will be. So never be afraid to just ask. Because you never know what you’ll be told.

10. Frame your request in regard to future potential, not past performance

Although your past performance is a great indicator of how well you have performed as an employee, when negotiating your salary try to avoid mentioning it. This is because your past performance is in the past and can suggest that you aren’t looking to the future and therefore, your future potential.

By framing your request for a pay rise by referencing the future you, allows you to talk about the things you would like to do in your career, while at the company and even where you might like to take the company.

11. It’s not you vs. them

Never go into a salary negotiation looking a fight. Although you will argue for getting a pay rise, the negotiation should be a discussion between you and your boss about your value to the company and what you have and will bring to the company latter on.

Additionally, by going in with your boxing gloves on and an aggressive attitude to match, you will give the impression that you don’t have a hold on your emotions and that you can’t have a normal conversation about something that can affect your future, but in a positive way.

So, no matter what, put the boxing gloves down, take a breath and try to get the best result possible.

12. Know how much you’re worth to your employer

Before you actually start your salary negotiations, it would be a great help for you to know what you are worth to your employer.  There is nothing worse than asking for a pay rise and finding out that you’re not actually worth you current pay and that your boss never thought you’d last this long in the first place.

This can be done by having a discussion about your performance within your job and at the company to see if asking for a pay rise at this particular time is a good idea. If not, what you can do is, over the following months, try to make significant and noticeable changes in your work performance to show that you are, at least now, trying to be a better employee.

However, if you know your boss values you and that you are doing well in your job, negotiating your salary will be easier. Mainly because your boss likes you and wants to see you succeed and move forward in your career.

About Rowena Nagy

Rowena Nagy is a Journalist at The Business Woman Media. A graduate in Journalism, Media and Communications, she is passionate about in writing, travel journalism, video journalism and Public Relations.

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