We all feel underpaid at times, overworked, frustrated with our bosses, etc. Sometimes it's just a mood, and sometimes it's legit. If you've been feeling like your job just isn't paying you what you're worth, it might be time to seriously look to brighter horizons. If you love your job, but honestly need a pay raise, then it's time to march into your manager's office and set up a meeting to talk about your future with the company. Don't sweat it if you're told to wait for official performance review time, it just gives you the edge you need to fully prepare. Start by reading our tips below to make this the year your salary starts looking like you know it could.
Oh, and get it out of your head that you don't need to negotiate or that it's rude or it's pushy. It's par for the course in the working world.
Do Your Research
First things first, right? Right. Hit up a site like Glass Door to review salaries for your industry and/or job positions. Get second opinions send some emails to recruiters you're connected to on LinkedIn, ask what the going rate is for your skills and experience. Don't be shy. You cannot expect to succeed if you show up to the table underprepared. When you know what you can realistically expect to be paid, create a range (this is important) to suggest to your employer. A range allows the ability to negotiate and shows you're flexible—within reason.
Timing is Everything
Next, pull together your achievements at this job and at previous jobs. In other words, know why you deserve to be paid more. No employer is going to be willing to negotiate with an employee they feel is replaceable. So you might want to spend some time making a name for yourself around the office before that performance review, too. If you can, gather data and quantifiable results of what you've done for your company. If you can't, just be as specific as you can. Even if it doesn't come up in discussion with your boss, it's good for you to know how good you are. Wait until you know your reasons for asking, or you know your value at work has been shored up before you march in making demands. By the way, it's best to ask, never demand.
Expect a Rejection—At First
When salary is being discussed, whether a new employee or a valued one they want to keep, your bosses are businesspeople and they'll want to get what they can for as little as they can. So don't back down when you suggest a raise and they say no at first. Read on to find out what to say next.
Now Is Not the Time for False Humility
Remember that list you made of why you're so good? Don't pad it at all. Make it totally real and truthful. This isn't the time to create a new persona from nothing, nor is it the time to downplay your worth. Women do that so often, it becomes a habit. You're not hanging with your girlfriends, you're being a professional. You know you can't be an arrogant jerk, but you can't be afraid to stand your ground and state what you can and want to do for the company.
Use Sugar to Help the Medicine Go Down
So how do you come off without sounding like a child who wants a lollipop before dinner? Be polite. State your interest in working with your bosses and that you want this position. When they say no at first, thank them for discussing it with you, taking the time, and reiterate what your skills are worth. Use no more than the best example of your value—or none at all. Over-justification can sound insecure and insincere. They may take some time to either reject you again or say they'll consider. Allow that silence to be there. Filling it can make you seem like a pushover. Don't be afraid to use a little humor, to show you're on everyone's side. After all, this is a benefit to all. They get a happier, more loyal worker, you get more money. Something like, "Hey, is seven figures out of the question? Just kidding. I've researched the positions and have found (this range) to be common in our industry." If the negotiations are uber formal, skip the humor. Stand your ground, but be kind and polite.
Know It's Not Just About the Salary
Job packages can come with perks outside of salary such as vacation time, performance bonuses and even company cars. Read the fine print of any contract. If they are not negotiable on salary, ask what they can do for you in terms of benefit negotiations. You might get a bonus or an extra week of vacation you otherwise wouldn't have if you hadn't negotiated.
In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology about negotiating with round versus specific numbers, they found it actually pays to be as specific as possible. Odd (versus even) numbers indicate you've done your research and know your stuff. Even when stating your salary range, it's better to go with odd instead of even numbers.
Don't Be Afraid to Jump Ship
Don't go round and round and round. Negotiations should really be you stating a range and what you expect no more than twice. Otherwise you risk being seen as someone who might not be so pleasant to work with. Too stubborn. If negotiations don't go your way, don't beat yourself up. You tried. And since you know what you're worth, you can start looking for better opportunities elsewhere.